Manila South Commuter Railway impression

PHILIPPINES: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr underlined his commitment to continuing and expanding the previous administration’s investment in rail during his first state of the nation address.

‘The infrastructure programme of the Duterte administration must not only continue but, wherever possible, be expanded’, he said. ‘We must keep the momentum. And aspire to build better.’

Current commitments include completing Manila’s 147 km North-South Commuter Railway project, the 33 km Metro Manila Subway, the 12 km LRT-1 Cavite Extension, the 23 km MRT-7, and an interchange station that will connect LRT-1, MRT-3 and MRT-7.

Infrastructure development spending will be sustained at 5% to 6% of GDP, he added, without saying how much would go on rail projects, and there will be upgrading and better utilisation of existing railways.

‘It is my belief that we have missed some great opportunities to develop our rail transport system’, he said. ‘It is clear in my mind that railways offer great potential as the cheapest way of transporting goods and passengers.’

Larger scale projects including the 102 km Mindanao railway, and planned new lines serving Panay and Cebu, would be better integrated into existing transport infrastructure, he added.