Senator Grace Poe urged the government to tap other potential investors to get the country’s railway projects back on track while ensuring a fair deal that will not financially overwhelm Filipinos.
“It’s not just about the construction of railways. We need to bridge our regions that will not unduly burden our taxpayers,” Poe said in her interpellation of Sen. JV Ejercito.
The Department of Transportation recently announced that official development assistance (ODA) loan deals with state-owned China Eximbank were deemed withdrawn after the latter failed to act on funding requests by the previous administration.
The veteran legislator noted the information from Ejercito that of the $9 billion worth of projects from China that were committed for ODA, only $600 million was finalized.
The three big-ticket railway projects of the government are the Subic-Clark Railway project; the design-build of the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul; and the Mindanao Railway project stretching from Davao to Digos City.
“China is going to charge us 3 percent interest, whereas Japan will only charge 0.01 percent.”
“Remember, China is going to charge us 3 percent interest, whereas Japan will only charge 0.01 percent. It’s clear as day when it comes to competence, deliveries, the projects they had in the past as well as the amount of interest that we’re going to pay–the choice should have been very clear,” said the chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.
“We really have to focus on this before we sign another contract that might be disadvantageous to us,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
The lady senator said the enactment of the Public Service Act, which she authored and sponsored, will open the country’s infrastructure project portfolio to more investments and partnerships.
“Investments in the railway sector are now allowed, which will give us more options and bidders who want to come in.”
“Investments in the railway sector are now allowed, which will give us more options and bidders who want to come in. Let us use this law to mitigate the fiscal burden of developing our railway system,” she said.
“The administration should take advantage of this fresh start so the next six years will be fruitful for the transport sector,” Poe concluded.