PHL, Ja­pan sign MRT-3 re­hab loan agree­ment

Business World - - Theeconomy - Joseph C. Tubayan Eli­jah

THE PHILIP­PINES and Ja­pan on Thurs­day signed a 38-bil­lion yen loan agree­ment to up­grade and re­ha­bil­i­tate the Metro Rail Tran­sit Line 3 (MRT-3).

Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los G. Dominguez III signed the loan agree­ment on be­half of the Philip­pines, while Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA) se­nior vice-pres­i­dent Ya­sushi Tanaka signed on be­half of Ja­pan.

The project seeks to im­prove the safety, re­li­a­bil­ity and the level of ser­vice of the 16.9-kilo­me­ter light rail sys­tem con­nect­ing 13 sta­tions along EDSA — Metro Manila’s main artery.

The MRT-3 re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion project will cost a to­tal of P21.96 bil­lion. Ja­pan will pro­vide a loan cov­er­ing about 85% or P18.76 bil­lion via its Of­fi­cial De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance (ODA) agency, JICA. The re­main­ing P3.19 bil­lion will be funded by the Philip­pines.

The in­ter­est rate is 0.10% for non-con­sult­ing ser­vices and 0.01% for con­sult­ing ser­vices, with a ma­tu­rity pe­riod of 40 years in­clu­sive of a 12-year grace pe­riod.

“This is by ev­ery mea­sure a very soft loan that will en­able us to ad­dress a very press­ing prob­lem,” Mr. Dominguez said in his speech.

“This is good news for the Filipino com­muters so they will have im­proved ac­cess to safe and re­li­able trans­porta­tion, while also meet­ing the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­i­ties to re­duce traf­fic con­ges­tion in Metro Manila, at­tract in­vest­ments, and im­prove the qual­ity of life of the peo­ple,” said JICA Se­nior Vice-Pres­i­dent Ya­sushi Tanaka.

The project in­volves the re­place­ment of “worn-out” tracks, a “gen­eral over­haul” of the 15-year old 72 light rail ve­hi­cles, that seeks to elim­i­nate the prob­lems of train stop­pages, sys­tem fail­ures, en­gine break­downs and faulty air con­di­tion­ing be­set­ting the line.

The loan will also cover the rail line’s train cars, power sup­ply sys­tem, over­head cate­nary sys­tem, ra­dio sys­tem, closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion sys­tem, pub­lic ad­dress sys­tem, de­pot equip­ment, el­e­va­tors and es­ca­la­tors and other sta­tion-build­ing equip­ment.

Trans­porta­tion Un­der­sec­re­tary Timothy John R. Batan said that the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process will not dis­rupt the cur­rent ca­pac­ity of the MRT-3.

He said that the DoTr will re­turn the MRT to its nor­mal de­sign ca­pac­ity in the next 26 months, to 20 op­er­at­ing tran­sits from the cur­rent 15, and time in­ter­vals of three and a half min­utes be­tween trains from seven min­utes cur­rently, speeds of 60 kilo­me­ters per hour (kph) from 30 kph, and pas­sen­gers car­ried to 500,000 from 388,000 cur­rently.

He said that the DoTr will grad­u­ally in­crease the MRT’s ca­pac­ity fur­ther un­til the 43rd month.

Mr. Batan said that the gov­ern­ment will tap the ser­vices of Su­mit­o­moMit­subishi Heavy In­dus­tries (MHI), the orig­i­nal main­te­nance provider of MRT-3 when it was first rolled out, be­fore its con­tract was ter­mi­nated in 2012.

He said that Su­mit­omo be­gan the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process on Oct. 15 to help ac­cel­er­ate the project.

Mr. Batan also said that the DoTr is still pro­ceed­ing with the full in­te­gra­tion of all the trains bought from Chi­nese firm CRRC Dalian Co.

“The tran­si­tion process is al­ready on­go­ing and full mo­bi­liza­tion will be in Jan­uary. The mo­bi­liza­tion is al­ready hap­pen­ing. The in­ter­face with Dalian trains is some­thing that we are cur­rently dis­cussing in or­der to make sure that all the con­sid­er­a­tions have been ad­dressed.

Mr. Dominguez said that the MRT re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion was the fastest that was ever pro­cessed be­tween both coun­tries, tak­ing less than three months.

The Na­tional Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (NEDA) Board, chaired by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte, ap­proved the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion project on Aug. 22

“I would like to as­sure our har­ried com­muters that we will re­build and rein­vent this vi­tal rail ser­vice as quickly as pos­si­ble,” Mr. Dominguez said. —

FI­NANCE Sec­re­tary Car­los G. Dominguez III (L) signed the loan agree­ment on be­half of the Philip­pines, while Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA) se­nior vice-pres­i­dent Ya­sushi Tanaka signed on be­half of Ja­pan.

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