Government lines up several railway projects nationwide
MANILA, Philippines — Several railway projects spanning over 1,000 kilometers — which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has touted as big-ticket initiatives aimed at improving connectivity and boosting the economy — are set to undergo feasibility studies, a crucial step before actual construction starts.
Following Marcos’ State of the Nation Address, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista on Tuesday said funding for the studies on four major railway systems has already been secured.
These include the 853-km PNR (Philippine National Railways) North Long Haul, the 100-km Panay Railway, the 54-km North Mindanao Railway, and the 17-km San Mateo Railway.
Bautista said his agency is in the process of tapping consultancy firms to craft the feasibility studies.
The North Long Haul project is an inter-regional railway system linking the National Capital Region and Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon. Panay Railway, which stopped operations in 1985, previously connected several towns in Iloilo and Capiz.
The Northern Mindanao segment of the Mindanao Railway System railway project links Cagayan de Oro to Laguindingan and Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. The entire Mindanao Railway, spanning 1,544 km, seeks to connect the major cities of Davao, General Santos, Cotabato, Zamboanga, and Surigao, among others.
The San Mateo project will connect Light Rail Transit Line 2 to San Mateo and Rodriguez, Rizal. The train system is designed to have six stations.
“The department will speed up the momentum in completing more transport infrastructures and projects aimed at moving more people, products, and services and trigger economic growth,” Bautista said.
Other railway projects in the pipeline include the Metro Manila Subway, Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite Extension, and North-South Commuter Railway.
Meanwhile, Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan said his agency was working on securing a loan for the P175.66-billion Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge by November.
The 32.15-km bridge starts from Barangay Alas-asin in Mariveles, Bataan, crosses Manila Bay, and ends in Barangay Timalan, Naic, Cavite. The project is designed to reduce travel time between the provinces to 45 minutes from five and a half hours.
Included in the project as well is the construction of two navigation bridges — the 400-meter North Channel Bridge and 900-m South Channel Bridge.
Under the government’s Inter-Island Linkage Bridge program, the Department of Public Works and Highways will also avail itself of consultancy services to complete the detailed engineering design of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges.
The feasibility studies are estimated at P600 million.
Last year, the government broke ground on the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge, while Panguil Bay Bridge is expected to be completed by 2024.