Railway projects get biggest share of DOTr infra budget

Published September 29, 2021, 8:03 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Projects in the railway sector will get the largest share of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) P151.34 billion budget that has been approved in the plenary deliberations of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

The interior of the newly built Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 East Extension Project in Antipolo City, Rizal. President Duterte led the inauguration ceremony of the LRT 2 Antipolo Station on July 1, 2021. (Malacañang photo)

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade led officials of the DOTr and its attached agencies in the House Plenary Deliberations as House Committee on Transportation Vice-Chairperson and Bataan 2nd District Rep. Jose Enrique Garcia III sponsored and defended the Department’s proposed budget for next year.

During the deliberations, Garcia explained that infrastructure projects took up 88 percent of the DOTr’s P117.1 billion capital outlays budget, with the Railway Sector getting the biggest chunk or 98 percent of the total infrastructure budget.

Meanwhile, P16.7 billion will be allocated by the DOTr for personnel services, P16.8 billion for maintenance and other operating expenditure, and P7.8 billion for financial expenses.

In its previous presentation before the House Committee on Appropriations, the DOTr stated that a total of P150.763 billion of its proposed 2022 budget needs to be included in the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA), while P579.8 million are already covered by existing appropriations which Congress previously authorized.

Some representatives also raised concerns about some of the DOTr’s initiatives including the Service Contracting Program during the deliberations.

Garcia, however, assured the plenary that the Department is doing its best to address issues and concerns raised, as well as complete the transport programs of the current administration for the benefit of Filipinos.

Wrapping up the more than three-hour deliberations, Magsasaka Partylist Rep. Argel Joseph Cabatbat moved for the approval of the DOTr’s proposed 2022 budget. He also supported the Service Contracting Program of the DOTr and commended Secretary Tugade for the initiative.

“I commend the project and in due time, I will support giving funds to the program because it gave us a glimpse of a nationalized transportation services to the people,” Cabatbat said.

“Imagine, we were able to help the drivers, we were able to give free rides to the commuting public at the time of the pandemic. I want this project to continue and I hope our colleagues will think that way also and will also support funding that program,” he added.