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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Jun 23, 2019

Art Tugade; man of action

One of my earliest recollections of Department of Transportation Secretary Art Tugade was during the inspection of the LRT-2 East Extension Project – a railway project which would add four kilometers to the existing 13.8-kilometer LRT-2 train line, connecting Recto Avenue in Manila to Masinag in Antipolo. The event was scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Secretary Art arrived at 5:30 a.m. Three years after the launch of the Build, Build, Build program, this work ethic was even more evident and Secretary Art has revolutionised the way transportation is done in the Philippines.

From 2011 to 2016, NAIA used to be one of the world’s worst airports. In just two years of the Duterte administration, it was awarded and recognized as one of the most improved airports in the world. NAIA Terminal 1 now has new glass aerobridges and two rapid exit taxiways.

Since President Duterte assumed offices, two international airports have been completed, namely, the Puerto Princesa International Airport and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport. A new terminal has also been built at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

A new international gateway in Bicol is already halfway completed, and the construction of a second terminal at the Clark International Airport is underway.

Original Proponent Status was granted to companies for the rehabilitation of NAIA, and the development of Davao International Airport and Kalibo International Airport.

The Clark International Airport, which was previously under-utilized, is now one of the country’s busiest airports with 524 domestic flights and 222 international flights weekly.

Domestic airports have also been improved. Airport terminals in San Vicente (Palawan), Tacloban, Tuguegarao, Virac, and Maasin (Leyte) were expanded and rehabilitated. Infrastructure development for four airports (Laoag, Vigan, Cotabato, and Sanga-Sanga (Tawi- Tawi), following the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of National Defense, is in the pipeline.

To keep air travel safe and to improve the overall air travel experience, Secretary Tugade prioritized the installation of the new Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM), which added 10 radars covering 100% of Philippine airspace.

Moreover, 21 commercial airports are now equipped with night-flight capabilities.

For the railways sector, three railways are under construction, namely, the MRT-7, LRT-2, and the Common Station. Seven new railway projects are expected to start construction in 2019, namely, the PNR Clark, PNR Calamba, PNR Bicol, LRT-1 Cavite Extension, Subic-Clark Cargo, Metro Manila Subway, and Mindanao Railway.

The Philippine National Railways has also reopened its train service from Caloocan to Dela Rosa in Makati, and extended it with the opening of the Sangandaan station.

In the last three years, there have been 161 commercial and social/tourism port projects completed nationwide. The passenger terminal building of Sasa Port in Davao City was opened, and a new passenger terminal building at Cagayan de Oro Port is near completion. There are continuous port upgrades being done in General Santos, Basilan, and Davao del Sur.

The Cavite Gateway Terminal, the country’s first barge terminal, has also been inaugurated. Secretary Art is definitely a man of action.

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