Mindanao Times

Pact signed on first tranche of loan for Railway Project


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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