SONA 2017 promises on infrastructure
On the first day of the Duterte presidency, a bill was filed in the Senate seeking to give the President emergency powers to address the “transportation crisis.” The President has promised to resolve transportation issues in two to three years. He also pledged to construct new airports, build massive railway systems and widen roads to bring development to the regions.
One year after, lawmakers have yet to grant the president the emergency powers he requested.
Duterte also promised to improve internet access in the country and fast-track government transactions and services through a national portal.
Acting on the President’s call, the Department of Information and Communications Technology launched three projects a year after-- the National Broadband Plan, a free wi-fi project called Pipol Konek and the National Government Portal or gov.ph.
On developing a National Broadband Plan
|PROMISE: “I have also ordered the newly-created DICT, Information and Communication Technology, to develop a National Broadband Plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies to improve internet speed.”|
Launched a month before the 2nd SONA on June 23, 2017 “to respond to the clamor of the public for faster and cheaper internet.” DICT targets that within the term of President Duterte, 100 percent of local government units will be connected to high speed government broadband backbone.
On free wi-fi access in public places
|PROMISE: “Wi-Fi access shall be provided at no charge in selected public places including plazas and parks, public libraries, schools, government hospitals, train stations, airports and seaports.”|
The project was also launched on June 23, 2017. According to its website, 12,841 public places so far have been covered in 1,634 cities and municipalities. DICT targets 100,349 public places nationwide by 2026.
On having a national portal
“All government agencies are instructed to enable their clients to submit
applications for coordination to other agencies combined…through a national
The National Government Portal or gov.ph was launched the same time as the National Brodband Plan and free wifi access project. It is “envisioned as a one-stop gateway uniting all web-based government content to maximize efficiency and provide rapid, high-quality service to citizens.”
Formerly, gov.ph only provided online copies of the documents issued by the Executive department.
On accelerating infrastructure spending
“We will accelerate infrastructure spending by improving national roads and bridges and implementing the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network and other road network master plans.”
“We shall also pursue rail projects in Metro Manila and the major key points in the country including the Mindanao Rail Project.... But six years, I assure you because it’s going to materialize: Rail projects, the Davao Transit System, the Cebu Transit System, the North and South Luzon Railways and the Panay Railways project.”
The Build, build, build component of Dutertenomics has identified 75 "high-impact" infrastructure projects aimed for completion by 2022. Target spending for infrastructure will amount to Php 8.4 trillion.
Of the 75 projects identified, the National Economic Development Authority has already approved 18. This includes the Clark International Airport and Tagum-Davao-Digos segment of the Mindanao Railway Project.
The Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network is a project conceived in 2015, which aims to link roads to ports and key production areas in the regions of Northern Mindanao, Davao, SOCSARGEN and CARAGA. Until now, the 80-billion peso project is still in the development stage.
On inter-island linkage projects
|PROMISE: “We shall pursue inter-island linkage projects."|
According to Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, the construction of bridges to connect major province islands in the Visayas, Southern Luzon and Northern Mindanao is still being studied.
On the Pasig River ferry service system
|PROMISE: “The revival of the operation of the Pasig River Ferry Service System is a viable option for the severe traffic congestion in Metro Manila."|
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) re-launched the Pasig River ferry service last December 2016. It currently has 12 stations, with fares ranging from Php 15 to 95.
On the anti-colorum campaign and removal of bus terminals
|PROMISE: “Our anti-colorum campaign and out-of-line apprehension including the removal of terminals will be intensified and, my God, it will be done. Immediately, immediately."|
The MMDA, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) joined forces to conduct an intensified anti-colorum campaign beginning July 2016. In August, an impounding site in Tarlac was also opened to accommodate apprehended vehicles, mostly for colorum violations.
However, a 2016 Department of Transportation (DOTr) Commission on Audit (COA) report said there is weak control over the custodianship of the impounded vehicles. Security guards on duty and not LTFRB personnel hold the keys to impounding sites which exposes the vehicles to the risk of “unauthorized use, and/or theft or loss.” Last year, LTFRB personnel all over the country, excluding Metro Manila, apprehended a total of 1,031 motor vehicles. Of this, only 367 vehicles were released to its owners after they paid the penalties. The rest are still impounded.
The MMDA issued two resolutions regarding the eventual abolition of bus terminals along EDSA and the establishment of an integrated bus terminal in northern EDSA. The resolutions though are open-ended, not containing specific action points.
This week, the MMDA ordered the closure of several terminals on EDSA for violating its “nose in, nose out” policy.
On maximizing the use of existing roads in Metro Manila
|PROMISE: "To address lack of road infrastructure in Metro Manila, usage of existing roads will be maximized. Thus, there is a need to cooperate and coordinate with LGUs to map out secondary routes and to consult various stakeholders, including the public transport operators."|
The Interagency Council for Traffic (i-ACT) was was formed last year. It is composed of various government agencies related to transportation, and is supposed to be the sole authority of traffic management in Metro Manila.
They were able to initiate traffic plans and map secondary routes in the region. However, the council’s existence is dependent on the signing of the Transport Crisis Act, or the law which will grant the president emergency powers.
The PNP-HPG says local government units continue to implement some of the plans begun by the council, but they are now awaiting a revitalized traffic plan from the MMDA.
On the Light Rail Transit (LRT) operations
|PROMISE: "Specifically for the LRT, the operating hours shall be extended from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m."|
Operating hours for LRT Line 1: 4:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.
For LRT Line 2: 4:30 am to 10:30 p.m.
On the distribution of motor vehicle plates
|PROMISE: “While the issuance and distribution of motor vehicle plates at point of sale, or through motor vehicle dealers shall be considered. Huwag na sa LTO…"|
The LTO in January merely released a memorandum addressed to accredited vehicle dealers, detailing how they should design conduction or file stickers. These stickers will continue to function as temporary license plates for any new vehicle. Another memorandum was issued in February, moving the implementation of the standardized temporary plates to June 1, 2017.
There is still no word from the LTO when vehicle owners will be able to get their license plates.
On the validity of driver’s licenses
|PROMISE: "For the driver’s licenses, its (validity) will be extended from the current 3-year period to 5 years.”|
The validity of driver’s licenses has been extended through a DOTr-LTO Administrative Order effective October 2016.
At the time, there was already a shortage of 3 million cards. LTO initiated the procurement of cards with 3-year validity to address the backlog. They were delivered in the first quarter of 2017.
Bidding to produce the license cards with 5-year validity was conducted only last January, and the contract awarded last April. Delivery of cards was promised 90 days after, or this July.
On the number of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) trains available at any given time
|PROMISE: “Passenger capacity congestion shall be addressed by increasing the number of running trains from the current 16 trains with a total of 48 cars per hour, to 20 trains with a total of 60 cars per hour.”|
Due to poor planning and major procurement lapses in 2015, new MRT trains (48 cars in total) remain unusable.
Currently, the MRT schedules the number of trains it deploys, from a high of 20 trains during peak hours in the morning and evening, to a low of 12 trains during Sundays. This however is not consistent, and depends on the status of the trains.
In 2016, there was an increase in the number of train removals (19.81%), service interruptions (26%) and passenger unloading (163.96%) as compared in 2014.
Find out how Duterte fared in other sectors here.