‘Better’ MRT-3 services by 2020 seen as economic managers OK rehab plan
Economic managers on Thursday green-lighted the rehabilitation of the dilapidated Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, such that commuters should expect better services in two years’ time.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said that the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) during a special meeting approved the rehabilitation and regular maintenance of the 17-kilometer MRT 3.
In doing so, riders can look forward to “more cars, better rails and more regular schedule” of the railway running along busy EDSA, said Pernia who, as head of the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, co-chairs the ICC.
Japan was offering a 38.1-billion yen (about P18.3-billion) loan for MRT 3’s rehabilitation and maintenance, as discussed last June by Japan Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano.
Following the Neda ICC-CabCom approval, the planned Japanese official development assistance will be up for discussion by the Neda Board, chaired by the President.
The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (Mofa) said that the project was aimed at upgrading the MRT 3 to make it “quality infrastructure again.”
The loan will be slapped an interest rate of 0.1 per annum, with a 28-year repayment period after a 12-year grace period.
While Japanese firms did the maintenance and management work when the MRT-3 was opened in 2000 until 2012, “from 2012 onwards, companies from other countries have been implementing the maintenance and management, but due to budget shortfalls and other factors appropriate maintenance and management work has not been implemented and currently the line and the rolling stock are in poor condition and there are frequent disruptions to train services,” Mofa noted.
“In response to a request from the government of the Philippines, Japan will provide the funds necessary to rehabilitate the MRT Line 3 appropriately and utilize the technology of Japan to upgrade the line to quality infrastructure, thereby improving the safety and comfort of the railway,” Mofa said.
“It is expected that due to the rehabilitation of the MRT-3 Line, approximately twice as many trains as currently will run appropriately by 2022 (two years after the completion of the project), greatly improving their transport volume, alleviating the serious traffic congestion in Metro Manila, and contributing to the alleviation of air pollution and climate change,” it added.
Pernia said that the Neda Board approval of the loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency would be “ad referendum.”/je