Ejercito: Budget cuts to DOTr will cripple railway projects

Ejercito: Budget cuts to DOTr will cripple railway projects

MANILA: Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito has appealed to his colleagues to restore the Department of Transportation (DOTr) budget for the country's railway system. He claimed that the cuts might affect the ongoing railways project, particularly the North-South Commuter Railway System and the first phase of the Metro Subway System.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Which aspects of the railway projects are funded by the national government?

    The value added tax that would be imposed by the projects as well as the right of way acquisition of land for railway facilities will be funded by the national government.
  • Who funds the majority of the current railway projects in the Philippines?

    International partners including the Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency fund the majority of the country's railway projects.
  • “I appeal to my colleagues to restore the budget that was cut. Halos kalahati (Almost half). This will definitely affect the schedules. This will also entail financial charges. We will be burdened by these financial charges,” Ejercito stated during the DOTr budget interpellation on Wednesday.

    He said that the budget for the commuter railway system was reduced by about P40 billion, while the proposed budget for the subway system was reduced by P10 billion.

    The unprogrammed funds in the budget, on the other hand, were reduced by the Senate by about P69 billion, which would be utilized to pay the contractors for the said project's live contracts.

    “Both the national government and the country’s economic recovery will suffer from these budget cuts on the railway sector,” Ejercito said.

    According to him, the development of the country's railway system will serve as a catalyst for economic progress.

    “It will bring massive development, not just in Metro Manila, but in other parts of the country as well, and will create jobs and improve the lives of Filipinos by spreading out development in the countryside,” he stated.

    President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s goal for railway development, which would open the way for the “growth triangles” that include airports, seaports, and economic centers in the country will also be affected by the budget cuts, according to Ejercito.

    International partners including the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) fund the majority of the country's railway projects.

    The value added tax that would be imposed by the projects as well as the right of way acquisition of land for railway facilities will be funded by the national government.

    “More importantly, the delay in the completion of our railway projects because of lack of government support will also bring a lack of confidence from investors,” Ejercito added. “It will paint a bad picture in the international community, while the President is trying hard to sell the country, that we are already open for business. The government should do its part.”

    Photo from Asian Development Bank Facebook page

    Also read: DOTr considers PPP for projects with limited funding

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