PBBM wants to revive Cebu railway, vows to implement BRT
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu might finally have its railway system back, and see the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the flesh as President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. vowed to improve public transport in the country.
These were among the many promises which he delivered during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 25.
Among the big-ticket projects his administration will be prioritizing for Cebu are the railway system and the implementation of the BRT.
President Marcos Jr. believed it is about time to expand the Philippines’ existing railroad networks as well as to develop new ones, or revive those that have yet to be lifted out of the pipeline, particularly in areas outside Metro Manila like Cebu.
“It is clear in my mind that railways offer great potential as it continues to be the cheapest way of transporting goods and passengers. We can build upon already existing lines by modernizing these old railway systems,” he said.
The President said he has directed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to go “full steam ahead” in finishing current railway projects as well as rolling out large-scale railway systems like the Mindanao Railway Project, Panay Railway Project, and the Cebu Railway System.
According to President Marcos Jr., the country has “dozens of railway projects at various stages of implementation” that have a total combined cost of P1.9 trillion.
On top of these, he also vowed to enhance the country’s roads and transportation systems in key cities, including the long-overdue Cebu BRT.
“We will also continue to improve our roads and transportation systems in key cities throughout the country through various projects such as the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit, Davao High Priority Bus System, Ilocos Norte Transportation Hub, and the El Nido Transport Terminal,” said President Marcos Jr.
“Improving our railway system, along with modernizing existing airports and seaports, will maximize our strategic location in the Pacific. And connect our many islands,” he added.
Cebu Railway, Cebu BRT
Historical archives tell that Cebu once had a railway system that connects Argao town and Danao City in the north.
The railroad was operated by the Philippine Railway Company from 1911 until 1942 when Japanese forces invaded Cebu during World War II.
The Philippine Railway Company was also the operator of the now-defunct Panay Railway Project.
Extensive damage due to the war rendered the railway inoperable for good.
Modern Cebu, on the other hand, has been the recipient of numerous mass transport system proposals, ranging from a Monorail that can connect Mactan Island to mainland Cebu and a Light Rail Transit (LRT). The Cebu BRT is also one of them.
The latest mass transport project pitched for Cebu was made in 2019, and it was the Cebu Monorail System.
So far, only the Cebu BRT system secured approval from the national government, and granted multi-million dollar loans to fund its implementation.
The P17-billion project, however, has yet to be operational for nearly a decade since World Bank and the French government, through the Agence Française de Développement, released the loans.
‘Lack of budget’ hounding Cebu BRT’s fate – World Bank
BRT update: Where is the project at?
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