DOTr hit for delayed transpo projects
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has wasted P21.5 billion in foreign loans after it failed to complete major mass transportation projects in Cebu and Metro Manila, two of the country’s most populous areas, Sen. Nancy Binay disclosed on Friday.
Worse, Binay said the DOTr already spent P7 billion for the long-delayed Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system but not a single excavation has been done since the project started in 2015.
At the Senate hearing of the DOTr’s P143-billion budget for 2021, the senator noted that the Cebu BRT, funded by a P16.5-billion loan from World Bank, was supposed to be operational by June 2021.
“I think we should seriously rethink this project because this is funded by a foreign loan and nothing has happened five years after it supposedly started,” Binay told Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and other DOTr officials. “Did you study this in the DOTr? Maybe it’s time to rethink this because it could not be feasible to begin with.”
“We spent P7 billion but not a single excavation has been made … The loan will already mature by June 2021 … [and] we will have to pay for it … We will also have to pay penalties for the [failure] in completing the project within schedule,” she added.
Binay said a similar BRT project in Metro Manila, which was funded by a P5-billion loan from Japan’s Official Development Assistance, had also yet to be finished.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Steven Pastor said the Cebu BRT project was actually put off by the government in 2017, but was revived in 2018. The Metro Manila BRT Phase II, he said, was shelved two years ago.
Pastor admitted that the government had already spent P400 million for the Cebu BRT project.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.