DOTr seeks 2-year extension for BRT loans
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday, May 6 confirmed that they are seeking an extension on the validity of the loans for the construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
Officials from DOTr, during a press conference, told reporters that they have already submitted a proposal to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), to move the expiration of the US$198-million loans from this year to 2023.
These loans were granted by the World Bank (WB) and the French government, through the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), two of the world’s largest financial institutions that provide capital for big-ticket projects in developing countries.
Implementation of the Cebu BRT, which costs around P17-billion, has been delayed for around half a decade already. The loans were approved in 2014.
DOTr is aiming for a ‘partial operability’ of the project this December 30.
But even if it has yet to operate, the Philippine government is already billed P29.5 million in commitment fees, according to the 2019 Consolidated Audit Report on Official Development Assistance-Funded Programs and Projects of the Commission of Audit (COA).
A commitment fee is a fee levied on an undisbursed portion of the loan, payable in the currency in which the loan is denominated.
Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who was present at Thursday’s press conference, said they are on track on achieving their target of partial operations of the Cebu BRT this December.
Tugade said civil works will begin within this year for four out of 17 stations of the BRT project.
These stations are in Barangay Capitol-Site, Fuente Osmeña Circle, Cebu Normal University, and Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT), he added.
“What’s important here is we will be able to start even just partial operations before 2021 ends,” said Tugade in Tagalog.
DOTr is the lead implementing agency of the Cebu BRT.
In March 2020, the agency launched the Cebu Interim Bus (CiBus) System, a ‘precursor service’ of the bus component of the Metro Cebu Integrated Intermodal Transport System (MCIITS). /rcg
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