Press Releases

Salceda says Malacanang assured him of Bicol Railway completion; House tax panel says rail will be backbone of “Bicol-Waray-Southern Tagalog” economic axis

August 1st, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez has assured him that President Marcos will complete the Bicol railway as part of his commitment to finish “all ongoing rail projects” as stated in his State of the Nation Address yesterday.

“The Bicol Railway will change the game for our industries in the Pacific Seaboard. It will also be the closest thing to connecting the Speaker’s home region to Luzon via rail,” Salceda said.

“Albay is the most densely populated province in the whole Pacific Seaboard. It also hosts the Bicol International Airport, which can actually service Regions VIII and Mimaropa; and Region VIII is the economic catch-up region of the Visayas. If we can connect Manila, Albay, and the Waray Region together through a network of transport infrastructure backboned by rail, we can accelerate development and economic interconnectivity between these regions.”

Salceda also affirmed Marcos’s statement that “rail is the cheapest way to transport cargo and passengers.”

“He’s right. And given that economy of scale, railway historically has been the way to induce development from economic centers to economic peripheries. Bicol railway will be the backbone of an emerging Bicol-Mimaropa-Waray economic axis.”

Malacanang assures Salceda, Bicol rail is still a go

Salceda also said that Marcos’s Executive Secretary assured him that President Marcos intends to continue Bicol Railway.

“I clarified with ES Rodriguez whether Bicol Railway is still a priority for PBBM, and he says that yes, it is covered by his commitment to all ongoing railway projects.”

“The issue is just that financing negotiations are still ongoing, so it was much better to emphasize during the SONA projects that can already be undertaken with ready funding.”

“The Chinese appear to be back to the negotiating table on Bicol rail financing. If they reiterate their offer of 3% per annum, in this inflationary global environment, that’s good enough. I am also working on alternative financing to strengthen our negotiating position and help PBBM.”

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