The delay in the approval of the loan of the city’s High Priority Bus System (HPBS) hinders the full implementation of the said project, a city official said.
Speaking in Thursday’s i-speak media forum at the City Hall, assistant city administrator lawyer Tristan Dwight Domingo said the project is still due for approval by the National Economic and Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) before a loan that could amount to P12 billion by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) can be approved.
“We have been asking the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the status of the project but nevertheless, we know that there are certain challenges in funding this particular project in the city,” said Domingo.
He added that the funding that is needed to implement a project as big as the HPBS needs to go through rigorous processes.
According to Domingo, the DOTr asked for clarifications based also on the comments by NEDA.
“Our move as of now is to reply to the DOTr’s comments on the project within this week or early next week,” Domingo said.
“Once we can send our reply, we are hoping that the NEDA process will proceed. That is the first step and once approved, they would now request for a loan by the national government to the ADB,” said Domingo.
He added that if funds are available, the city government can fully roll-out the project already.
According to Domingo, the city government had to fund for the first part of the implementation of the HPBS following the delay.
“Seeing the mountain need for this efficient public transport system in the city, the mayor jumpstarted the implementation of the HPBS. Under the Supplemental Budget 1 that the City Council recently approved, the Mayor allotted P100 million to implement the trial implementation that we can call as the Davao Interim Bus System,” said Domingo.
The said first phase of HPBS identified Catalunan Grande and Diversion Road as the pilot routes.
Amid the delays, Domingo asked for patience from the commuters.
“We are fully aware that same problems are being experienced by almost all areas outside the Central Business District. We receive the complaints addressed mostly in social media but we have to understand that there are processes that we have undergo before we can implement projects,” said Domingo.