Japan to fund 3 rail projects
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, the Neda chief added.
The feasibility study for the commuter rail to Los Baños is yet to be started while that for the railway to Clark will be completed in April next year.
In a statement also yesterday, the Department of Finance said that during the first meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation held in Tokyo, the Philippine government presented its priority projects for possible implementation with Japan ODA financing and support and the Japanese side acknowledged the list based on Prime Minister Abe’s commitment to provide 1-trillion Japanese yen (about $9 billion) financing package to the Philippines.
“The priority list covers projects in railway, irrigation and public works projects covering road and flood management. Additional projects in the areas of public works, energy and industrial zone development were also submitted as candidates for Japan ODA financing,” the DOF said.
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