Pact signed on first tranche of loan for Rail­way Project

Mindanao Times - - BUSINESS -

THE PHILIP­PINE gov­ern­ment and the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) have signed a $1.3-bil­lion loan agree­ment rep­re­sent­ing the first tranche of the US$2.75 bil­lion fi­nanc­ing for the con­struc­tion of a 53.1-kilo­me­ter pas­sen­ger rail­way that will con­nect Malo­los in Bu­la­can to the Clark In­ter­na­tional Air­port (CIA) in Pam­panga, the sin­gle largest in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment ever of the mul­ti­lat­eral in­sti­tu­tion here or in any other coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to the ADB, the Malo­los-Clark Rail­way Project (MCRP) will ben­e­fit around 342,000 pas­sen­gers per day along the Mani­laClark cor­ri­dor and up to 696,000 pas­sen­gers per day trav­el­ing daily to Calamba when it is ex­pected to be com­pleted by 2025.

On top of pro­vid­ing af­ford­able, re­li­able and safe pub­lic trans­port, the MCRP is also ex­pected to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions from mo­tor vehicles, and will re­duce travel time from Manila to CIA to less than an hour from the cur­rent time of 2 to 3 hours by car or bus.

Pres­i­dent Duterte wit­nessed last Thurs­day’s sign­ing of the MRCP loan agree­ment at Mala­canan Palace by Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III, on be­half of the Philip­pines, andADB vice pres­i­den­tAhmed Saeed for the mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion.

“This project will more than pay for it­self and bring con­ve­nience to hun­dreds of thou­sands of com­muters a day in what will be an ex­tremely busy Manila-Clark cor­ri­dor in the com­ing years,” Dominguez

said. The es­ti­mated to­tal project cost for the MCRP is US$6.139 bil­lion, which will be co-fi­nanced by the ADB and the Gov­ern­ment of Ja­pan through the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA). The ADB will fund US$2.75 bil­lion or 44.8 per­cent of the to­tal project cost, while JICA will fi­nance US$$2.011 bil­lion or 32.75 per­cent. The Philip­pine gov­ern­ment’s coun­ter­part fund­ing of 22.45 per­cent amounts to US$1.378 bil­lion. ’This loan demon­strates the close co­or­di­na­tion be­tween mul­ti­lat­eral agen­cies and our bi­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment part­ners,’ said Dominguez. ’I am happy our de­vel­op­ment part­ners have adapted quite well to the ‘Fast and Sure’ ap­proach in get­ting the ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects go­ing,’ Dominguez added. ’The ADB and the Ja­panese Gov­ern­ment are in­deed our friends and part­ners in their un­tir­ing sup­port for the coun­try’s growth and de­vel­op­ment.’ Dominguez noted that “this muchde­layed project is fi­nally push­ing through” as part of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ in­fra­struc­ture mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram. The project was first con­cep­tu­al­ized in the late 1990s, with prepara­tory con­struc­tion start­ing in 2006 but scrapped in 2011. ADB’s US$2.75 bil­lion loan is the largest sum ex­tended by the Bank to the Philip­pines, which hosts its head­quar­ters, or to any other coun­try, since its es­tab­lish­ment in 1966.

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