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 governments 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 countrys 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.