DOTr chiefs meet for transition briefing

Published June 29, 2022, 9:17 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade met with incoming Secretary Jaime Bautista on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at the DOTr Clark Offices in Clark, Pampanga to discuss the agency’s ongoing projects and accomplishments in the past six years under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Secretary Tugade is fulfilling his promise to work until the very last day of his term.

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Over the weekend, Tugade and Duterte reopened the Philippine National Railways (PNR)’s San Pablo-Lucena line, part of the long-haul Bicol Express, mothballed for a decade after a supporting structure collapsed.

Starting Sunday, June 26, 2022, the 44-kilometer PNR line, which is capable of serving 3,683 passengers, started operating once more, cutting travel time between San Pablo,Laguna and Lucena, Quezon to 30 minutes from the usual one hour overland.

In the maritime sector, the DOTr, together with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Cebu Ports Authority (CPA), has completed 600 commercial and social/tourism port projects in the 6 years of the Duterte administration.

The number includes an additional 12 port project expected to be finished by end of June 2022.

In Luzon, they have completed the Port of Salomague in Ilocos Sur as well as the Port of Puerto Princesa, San Fernando, Bataraza, and Borac in Palawan.

In the Visayas, they completed the Port of Tagbilaran, Port of Maribojoc, Port of Jagna, and Port of Dumaguete.

In Mindanao, theu expanded and upgraded the Port of Cagayan de Oro, Port of Babak in Davao del Norte, and Makar Wharf or the General Santos Port.

Big-ticket seaport projects are also ongoing, such as the Port of Calapan, which will have a capacity of 3,500 passengers at any given time and the Port of Zamboanga, which can accommodate 4,000 passengers at any given time.

In the aviation and airports sector, the DOTr, together with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), completed 250 aviation and airport projects since 2016.

These include the new passenger terminal of the Clark International Airport, the new world-class Bicol International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Puerto Princesa International Airport, Zamboanga International Airport, Catarman Airport, Calbayog Airport, Siquijor Airport, General Santos Airport, Ormoc Airport, Virac Airport, Camiguin Airport, Butuan Airport, among others.

Even in the final stretch of the current administration, the DOTr’s Aviation and Airports Sector continued to oversee the developments at the NAIA, Vigan Airport, Surigao Airport, Siargao Airport, and Davao International Airport.

Other notable projects include the establishment of the long-delayed Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM), as well as the night-rating of 23 commercial airports, in a bid to increase their operational efficiency and reduce daytime flight congestion.

After the meeting of the two DOTr chiefs, Secretary Tugade accompanied his successor at the new Passenger Terminal Building of the Clark International Airport to inspect the airport’s facilities.

“The DOTr Transition team is exerting all efforts to ensure a smooth, full, and transparent transition – one of cooperation, one of support, and one that is geared in making the new administration successful,” Tugade earlier announced.

He personally knows incoming Secretary Bautista from “long years of association and friendship,l”.

“His professionalism, experience, dedication, and hard work will certainly augur well in his being the Secretary of Transportation. In the best of my abilities and capabilities, I shall assist in however way asked and needed,” according to Tugade.

Bautista, a Certified Public Accountant, was at the helm of Philippine Airlines (PAL) for 13 of his 26 years in the flagship carrier, prior to his 2019 retirement.

Overall, he spent 39 years serving various executive capacities in the business empire of tycoon Lucio Tan.

Bautista was largely credited with stemming PAL’s financial hemorrhage, boosting the flag carrier’s rating to four stars and clinching a deal with Tokyo-based All Nippon Airways Holdings.

As DOTr Secretary, Bautista vowed to elevate the transport sector to global standards.

However, he is taking over right in the midst of an industry in crisis, with public transport lacking capacity and skyrocketing fuel prices, the unsolved road traffic congestion in Metro Manila, the undecided fate of the public utility vehicle modernization program, among other issues.

He has to oversee the rehabilitation of the country’s main international gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and is expected to continue the outgoing administration’s mega projects, including the Metro Manila Subway, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) North-South Commuter Railway and the Mindanao railway.

 
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