Mayor Duterte vows improved transpo in Davao City

(Photo credit to DOF)
(Photo credit to DOF)

AS the Philippine government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had formally signed the $1-billion loan agreement for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (DPTM), Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte promised that the city would experience an improved transportation system.

“We are confident that the Davao Bus Project [DPTM] will soon become reality, and we will soon be able to provide the public with a modern transportation system that will usher in a new era of growth and development in Davao City,” Duterte said during the signing of the loan agreement at the Acacia Hotel in Davao City on Saturday, July 1.

ADB approved the loan on Thursday, June 29, and is part of the total P80-billion budget for the project. Particularly, the $1 billion fund is 60 percent of the budget while the remaining will come from the Department of Transportation and the City Government of Davao.

According to ADB, the Asean Infrastructure Fund is co-financing the project with a $10-million loan under its Asean Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) and a $50-million loan from the Green Climate Fund under the ACGF’s Green Recovery Program.

The DPTMP would be the first project to deploy electric bus fleets for public transportation that would reduce greenhouse gasses and promote climate action.

Duterte said that prior to the loan signing, ADB officials visited the city two weeks ago for a “familiarization visit.”

He said the visit also included a discussion for the city’s transportation modernization project.

“The success of that visit is reflected today as we embark on the next and most important partnership,” the mayor said.

He added, “ This loan agreement shall provide us with the crucial momentum and bring us closer to attaining the goal of sustainable development and progress in our city.”

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista said the DPTM is the first in the country, which aims to establish a modernized transportation system “that would set a standard for safe, efficient, and convenient high priority bus systems.”

"That would bring groundbreaking changes to the current public transport landscape of Davao as the country's first integrated citywide bus service,” Bautista said.

“This landmark project promises a multitude of benefits for residents of Davao as well as tourists,” he added.

PBBM vows to improve PH transport systems

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who personally witnessed the signing, said in his speech that his administration is committed to addressing the pressing issues hounding the country’s transportation sector.

Marcos said the government “will remain relentless in providing solutions to the pressing challenges that hinder our path towards prosperity and progress.”

“As long as we are guided by the core of the whole-of-nation and whole-of-society approach, I am confident that our vision of a seamless, efficient, accessible and highly connected transportation system will be well within reach,” the President said.

Marcos said now is the right time to commence the DPTMP, which he said marks another milestone “that heralds a very large leap towards realizing our goal to modernize our country’s public transportation system.”

“As it (DPTMP) opens its doors to visitors and investors, the city will be rewarded with increased business opportunities. Increased commercial activities necessarily bring more people which means more vehicles on the streets, busier roads, and hence, heavier traffic,” he said.

Marcos said the DPTMP, envisioned as early as 2010, will have an integrated network of 29 routes that will connect major commercial centers in Davao City, yielding various socio-economic opportunities for Davaoeños.

Marcos directed the DOTr to work hard to finish the DPTMP within the set timeline and address various concerns such as funding requirements, traffic management issues, and the affected households.

While he acknowledged the positive developments that the DPTMP will bring to Davao City, Marcos stressed the need to provide assistance to those who will be affected by the implementation of the project.

“Lest we forget, coupled with this grand vision of building an efficient mode of transportation are the unavoidable issues that also need our immediate attention, such as the families who will be displaced by the implementation of the program,” Marcos said.

“But I assure everyone that this project will also include social development interventions, such as financial and non-financial assistance for those who are displaced. It will also ensure that the families affected by the construction are properly compensated and if need be, relocated,” he added.

Marcos expressed gratitude to the ADB for its unwavering support in the various projects and initiatives of the Philippine government.

“As we further our partnership, I am optimistic that we will come up with and forge even more projects in the years ahead, especially those that aim to improve the lives and lessen the burden to the Filipino public,” Marcos told ADB officials.

The DPTMP is one of the big infrastructure projects under the “Build, Better, More” infrastructure program of the Marcos administration.

It will cover 672 kilometers with nine routes that connect key areas in Davao City to Panabo City, Davao Del Norte.

A total of 1,105 buses will operate along the routes. It is projected to start initial operations by 2024 and can serve around 800,000 passengers daily. (RGL)

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