Rep Duterte calls for long-term solutions to transport woes: 'Marami pang dapat gawin'

Davao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte says there's much that needs to be done to cure the problems of the country's ailing public transport sector.

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In a statement, the second-term congressman reckoned that "long-term solutions" must be implemented to the sector; these include expanding the country’s railway system and modernizing seaports in order to more efficiently move passengers and link economic centers across the country.

“Marami pang dapat gawin at makikita naman natin yan sa araw-araw na hinaing ng mga commuters dito pa lang sa Metro Manila (There's a lot more that needs to be done based on the daily complaints of commuters here in Metro Manila alone)," said Rep. Duterte, son of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Although the previous administration increased infrastructure spending to an average of 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is significantly higher than in the previous presidencies, Rep. Duterte said he recognizes the fact that more needs to be done to achieve the goal of making the Philippine transport industry on par with international standards.

If anything, he lauded the recent pronouncement of new Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista to elevate the Philippines’ transport industry to global standards, by, among others, continuing the big-ticket infrastructure projects started by the administration of his father.

"As Secretary Bautista had correctly pointed out, there’s no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’ when it comes to the transport industry. Marami nang nakalatag na transport infrastructure projects na maaring ipagpatuloy ng DOTr (There are a lot of ongoing transport infrastructure projects that the DOTr ).

"These projects aim not only to ease the daily woes of commuters, but are designed to move goods and services more efficiently to lower costs, especially for food producers,” the Mindanao solon said.

The Philippines’ first-ever underground railway system—the Metro Manila Subway; the LRT-1 Cavite Extension; North-South Commuter Railway system; the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) projects 4 and 7; the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Bicol segment; the Mindanao Railway Phase 1; LRT-2 West Extension Project; and Subic Clark Railway Project, to name a few, are among the projects under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program that were turned over to the current Marcos administration.

Rep. Duterte said the New Cebu International Container Port project, which involves the construction of a new container port terminal complementing the existing Cebu Base Port, was also turned over by the Duterte administration to the new government.

Under President Duterte, the DOTr constructed 11 new ports, expanded 354 ports and rehabilitated 114 existing ports.

These infrastructure projects that aim to establish a seamless transport network in the country will also help revitalize the tourism industry as it continues to recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, noted Rep. Duterte.

He said increasing urbanization in many parts of the country and the need to boost the country’s attractiveness to foreign investors likewise require an efficient transport network.

“As we all well know, these projects will also lead to more quality jobs and new business opportunities that will invigorate the economy and help families rise above poverty,” the solon said.

He pledged to support in the 19th Congress increased allocations for infrastructure in the national budget to enable the administration to build or improve more roads and bridges, ports and airports.

“But we should also make sure that the projects funded by these allocations are well-studied to ensure that government resources are spent wisely. May krisis man o wala (Whether there's a crisis or not), we should not waste the hard-earned taxpayers’ money,” Rep. Duterte concluded.