Manila-Bicol railway split for China, Japan financing, says Neda chief
Economic managers have agreed to let Japan finance the construction of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP)-South Line’s commuter line while allowing China to help build the long-haul section to Bicol, the country’s chief economist said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told the Inquirer that the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, which he heads, agreed with the Department of Transportation’s plan to unbundle the NSRP-South Line project and split the financing to accommodate the Chinese and Japanese governments.
The unbundled projects had both been approved by the Neda’s Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and will be up for confirmation by the Neda Board chaired by the President, documents showed.
To recall, the NSRP-South Line was approved by the Neda Board during the Aquino administration as a public-private partnership (PPP) project in February last year, but the Neda ICC-Cabinet Committee in March approved the change in financing scheme to official development assistance (ODA).
The P134-billion Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Commuter Line line, which will run from Tutuban, Manila to Los Baños, Laguna and eyed for completion by 2022, will be funded by ODA from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said in an interview last week.
The P151-billion PNR Long-Haul line that will connect Calamba, Laguna and Bicol, meanwhile, will be financed by China, Neda documents showed.
Groundbreaking for the long-haul line will be in December, for completion by 2024.
These two projects form part of the 75 “flagship” infrastructure initiatives of the Duterte administration, of which 53 projects have a cumulative cost of P1.579 trillion.
Tungpalan said the Philippine and Japanese governments would likely sign the loan commitments for three big-ticket projects when Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Manila in November, namely the P230-billion Mega Manila Subway Project-Phase 1, the P211.5-billion Malolos-Clark Airport-Clark Green City Rail Project, and the P9.99-billion Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project. —BEN O. DE VERA
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