Japan to fund 3 rail projects

NEDA Director Ernesto Pernia. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

The Japanese government has committed to finance three big-ticket rail projects worth $8.8 billion on top of 11 other projects proposed for loans and grants, the country’s chief economist said yesterday.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters that during their meeting with aid agency Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) early this week, Philippine economic managers pitched 14 mostly infrastructure projects, with three of them considered high priority and falling into the “flagship” projects of the Duterte administration.

Pernia, who also heads state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, said the three priority projects for Japanese financing were the $4.3-billion initial phase of the Mega Metro Manila subway system connecting FTI in Taguig City to the SM North Edsa and Trinoma malls in Quezon City; the $2.7-billion commuter line extending to Los Baños, Laguna, the south line of the North-South railway project, and the $1.9-billion high-speed rail extending to the soon-to-rise Clark Green City of the North-South Commuter Railway connecting Tutuban in Manila and Malolos, Bulacan.

Pernia earlier disclosed that the Neda would pitch for President Duterte’s approval a list of 55 “game-changing” projects that the administration aimed to roll out and complete before 2022.

The Neda chief said most of the projects to be funded by Japan were intended to disperse development away from Metro Manila, which was already suffering from congestion.

Pernia said the 11 other projects included a number of irrigation and flood control projects outside the capital region.

The official development assistance (ODA) for the subway project would be signed when Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the Asean Summit hosted by the Philippines in November, Pernia said.

The feasibility study for the initial phase of the subway would be completed by September,…

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