February 9, 2024
MANILA – President Marcos on Wednesday led the awarding of contracts to two Chinese companies that would undertake four components of a P73-billion project aimed at modernizing the public transport system of Metro Davao and its adjacent localities.
Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte witnessed the ceremonial signing of the civil works agreements for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (DPTMP), coinciding with the celebration of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) 125th founding anniversary.
“This is more than just the ceremonial signing of the civil works contracts for the DPTMP. It is a strong reaffirmation of our commitment to develop the Davao Region,” the President said in his speech moments before the signing.
The DOTr awarded the contract for three packages of the project to China International Water and Electric Corp. (CWE) and for the fourth package to a joint venture between China Wu Yi Co. Ltd.-Fujian Construction and Engineering Group Co. Ltd. and Vicente T. Lao Construction.
According to the DOTr, the DPTMP would cover a 672-kilometer bus route network in Metro Davao, serving 29 interconnected routes with about 400 articulated (tandem or accordion) electric buses and more than 500 Euro 5-compliant diesel buses.
The project would involve the construction of more than 1,000 bus stops along bus corridors with shelters to protect passengers from the weather and could serve 800,000 passengers daily upon its completion.
It would also include a computerized bus priority traffic signaling; a bus operation control center; automatic fare collection system, and Wi-Fi connection in buses, terminals and depots, and other public waiting areas.
The four contracts awarded to the Chinese firms were for the construction of bus terminals, depots, bus lanes, pedestrian lanes, and a driving school.
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Once completed, the project would deliver a “high-quality bus-based public transportation system to ensure mobility and accessibility for Davao City’s growing population and economy,” the DOTr said.
The DPTMP is being financed by a $1-billion loan from the Manila-based Asian Development Bank.
Efficient transport system
In his speech, President Marcos said the project “will not only ease commuting but will also transport the city to a modern future with certainty.”
“It is a demonstration of our resolve to deliver what people in all regions deserve: A mass transportation system that can move commuters and commerce efficiently,” he noted.
“There is no better place than this city to renew that pledge; there is no better time than today,” the President added.
It was the first visit of the President to Davao City after being at the receiving end of tirades from the father-and-son tandem of former president Rodrigo Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, who did not attend the event.
Last week, Mayor Duterte dared the President to resign from his post as he did not seem to care for the Filipino people, while the elder Duterte called his successor someone high on drugs.
The DOTr did not explain why it has retained Chinese contractors for the Davao project after it had canceled three big-ticket railway contracts originally set to be funded by China.
Last year, the DOTr announced that it was no longer pursuing the P142-billion, 380-km Philippine National Railway South Long Haul project from Calamba City in Laguna to Bicol; the 71-km Subic-Clark freight railway connecting the former US military bases Subic Bay Freeport Zone and Clark Freeport Zone, and the P83-billion, 103-km Mindanao commuter railway.