‘Big’ projects Duterte legacy in Bicol region

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay--- President Rodrigo R. Duterte has allocated huge outlays for the Bicol region in terms of job generations, poverty alleviation and, in general, promoting rapid economic development, according to AKO-Bicol party-list Congressman Elizaldy Co.

Co said the allocations, in particular, are intended for the construction of a P175-billion railway system and the completion of the Bicol International Airport.

Co lauded the generosity of President Duterte, despite the fact that he did not win in the region when he ran for the presidency in 2016.

The congressman added that the President’s partymates also lost in the May 2018 mid-term polls in the region.

He said the railway system from Metro Manila to Bicol and the Bicol International Airport are the biggest projects that would serve as the legacy of the Duterte administration in the region.

According to Co, the projects will also beef up tourism in the countryside, thus encouraging more investors to put up hotels, restaurants and resorts in Bicol.

“Bicol is lucky because President Rodrigo Duterte allocated the biggest budget in the history for our railway system with P175 billion and for the completion of the Bicol International Airport even though he didn’t win in Bicol in the past elections including his Senate slate in the mid-term elections here,” Co said.

The Department of Transportation, according to Co, has already awarded the construction packages for a long-haul railway line that would link Metro Manila to Bicol’s mainland provinces through Southern Luzon.

The 639-kilometer railway line funded by the Chinese government is formally known as the Philippine National Railways South Long-Haul Project amounting to P175 billion is the biggest project in Bicol under Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

Upon completion, the PNR Bicol Project will connect Metro Manila, Region IV-A (Calabarzon) and Region V (Bicol), reducing travel time from Manila to Legazpi City from 13 hours to under 6 hours.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved the financing of the PNR Bicol project through official development assistance (ODA) from the government of China.

Originally, train is the first transportation in Bicol heading to Metro Manila. But the railway system travel before according to locals took about 10 to 12 hours.

Today, the proposed PNR project from Metro Manila to Bicol will take only 6 hours and would be partially operational before President Duterte steps down in 2022, Co said