Yamsuan confident Marcos admin will revive Bicol Express rail line; here’s why 

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

FB_IMG_1690086208762.jpgBicol Saro Party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan (Facebook)

Bicol Saro Party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan is positive that the revival and modernization of Philippine National Railways’ (PNR) Bicol Express rail line will happen under the current Marcos administration. 

This, after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced they were abandoning China as a funding source for the project. 

Yamsuan said that a key indicator that shows President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. ‘s intent on reviving Bicol Express is the recent groundbreaking of resettlement sites for residents of Laguna and Quezon who will be affected by the project’s construction. 

“President Marcos is not only bent on reviving and modernizing the Bicol Express as he had promised Bicolanos. He is also making sure that affected residents would not be neglected by ensuring that they get to resettle in livable communities. This is the strongest indicator that the project will push through,” Yamsuan said in a statement on Tuesday, Oct. 31. 

The rookie solon believes that dropping out of the loan application with China may yet prove to be an even more beneficial for the Philippine government. 

Yamsuan explained that the government can now tap other funding sources that offer more cost-effective financing packages. 

Last week, the DOTr said it was ditching China as a partner for its three big-ticket projects as the Chinese government appears to have lost interest in financing them. These projects are the Mindanao Railway, the Subic-Clark Railway, and the Bicol Express line, which is also known as the South Long Haul. 

Yamsuan said DOTr should consider adopting the Public-Partnership Program (PPP) mode to finally start the Bicol Express project. 

This proposed PPP mode would involve tapping into foreign funding institutions like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to provide financing for the electromechanical system of the project. 

With this, the government will now only fund the right-of-way acquisition and rolling stock, alongside partnering with the private sector for the civil works aspect of the project. 

Yamsuan is pushing for the rebirth of the Bicol Express rail line–once famed for its ease of access–as a modern, efficient, and environment-friendly means of transportation. 

“Reconstructing the Bicol Express will be a gamechanger that would accelerate economic growth in South Luzon, create highly skilled jobs in the railways sector and open hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities for Bicolanos,” he said. 

The first package of the 368-kilometer Bicol Express project is set to start in Banlic village, Calamba, Laguna, and will traverse the provinces of Quezon, Camarines Sur, and Albay. The line will end at Daraga, Albay, with an extension line to Sorsogon also being eyed. –Dexter Barro II 

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