Economy · August 4, 2022

Connectivity is a priority for the government

IMPROVING connectivity and logistics is a priority of the Marcos administration, a senior finance department official said during an online business forum hosted by The Manila Times.

“I think [that] in some discussions on infrastructure spending, there has been a lot of emphasis on connectivity across the country, ”said Finance Undersecretary Zeno Ronald Abenoja.

For example, the role of rail, in particular passenger and freight services that will connect agricultural producing regions to urban areas or consumer sectors, could be further developed.

A general shot of trains parked at the Philippines National Railways train depot in Manila. The second Marcos administration is prioritizing connectivity and logistics to connect the country’s agricultural regions to urban areas. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

Port areas and airports also attracted attention during discussions, Abenoja noted, adding that a different type of connection would focus on connecting the archipelago’s tourist spots.

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Last month, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said infrastructure development will continue to be a top priority in the government’s drive for growth and jobs.

“Infrastructure development spending will be incurred between 5 and 6% of GDP (gross domestic product). The development of our infrastructure is of primary importance as it is a necessary element to improve many other sectors, including the agriculture, tourism, general economic activity and even government, “he said during his first state of the nation speech.

Railways, in particular, have a lot of potential, Marcos added, because they continue to be the cheapest way to move people and products, and because the government could expand existing lines by updating outdated infrastructure.

“There are dozens of rail projects – on the ground, above ground, underground, not just in Manila but in other regions – in various stages of implementation and with a combined cost of £ 1.9 trillion,” he noted.

The 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Rail System, the 33-kilometer Metro Manila Metro Project, the 12-kilometer Cavite Extension (LRT), the 23-kilometer Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 7 and Station joint that will link LRT 1, MRT 3 and MRT 7 are just some of the rail projects approved in the current investment portfolio.

Larger networks, such as the 102-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project, the Panay Railway Project and the Cebu Railway System, will be integrated as essential components of the country’s transportation and communication systems.

Marcos said the government will continue to improve the country’s roads and transport infrastructure through a number of initiatives, including the El Nido transport terminal, the Ilocos Norte transport hub, the Davao high-priority bus system. and the rapid transportation of Cebu Bus.

“The improvement of our rail system, coupled with the modernization of existing airports and seaports, will maximize our strategic position in the Pacific and connect our many islands,” he added.