Three rail projects affected due to budget passage delay
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) admitted on Wednesday the delay in the passage of the P3.757-trillion budget has affected implementation of at least three major rail projects, including rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said the projects affected by the failure of Congress to transmit the enrolled budget bill were the MRT-3 rehabilitation, the North-South Commuter Railway, particularly the Malolos-Tutuban phase, and the Metro Manila Subway project.
"All the (projects), which funding source for the first time will come from GAA (General Appropriations Act) are to a certain extent are affected. For example, the subway, because the bulk of our funding source is in 2019 (budget). There's also an effect on the Tutuban-Malolos, especially in paying the loan," Batan said when asked of the other projects which were affected due to the delay of the passage of the 2019 budget.
Philippine National Railways General manager Junn Magno, in the same press briefing, said without the 2019 budget, "we're in the mercy of our suppliers and our vendors."
He said they have been asking contractors to advance their work while waiting for budget approval.
He said the delay on the budget approval has the "biggest effect" on the subway because "upfront we need to buy new railways, new spare parts for the whole system."
He said the government needs to order as much as possible spare parts.
Batan said they were thankful to Sumitomo Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for doing the MRT-3 rehabilitation despite the government's failure to pay them yet due to the absence of the 2019 GAA.
Congress has yet to transmit to Malacanang an enrolled bill on the proposed budget for this year. The government is operating under the 2018 reenacted budget. Celerina Monte/DMS