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PH to close more loan deals with Japan, China

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:01 AM January 15, 2019

The Philippine government is set to sign at least six loan agreements with Japan and China during the first quarter, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Y. Joven told reporters last Friday that between January and March, the government could finalize deals with Japan for three projects, including an agreement covering part of the P777.6-billion 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway System (NSCR) stretching from the Clark Freeport Zone to Calamba, Laguna.

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The NSCR, to be implemented by the Department of Transportation and the Philippine National Railways, will connect an ongoing Phase 1 spanning Malolos, Bulacan and Tutuban, Manila to the PNR South Commuter Railway all the way to Calamba and the Malolos-Clark Railway.

The massive railway project would be co-financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Manila-based multilateral lender Asian Development Bank, with the first tranche of the loan estimated at 167.2 billion yen (about P79.7 billion).

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Japanese loans would also be tapped for the fourth phase of the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project and the P10-billion Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao, Joven added.

The government had pitched to secure a 37.9-billion yen (about P18.6 billion) loan from Japan for the final phase of the project aimed at mitigating “the frequent massive flooding caused by the overflow of the Pasig-Marikina River,” the DOF said in a statement Monday.

The Mindanao road project, on the other hand, would involve the construction of 186.2 km of new roads on top of upgrading 32.9 km in existing roads across the island’s five regions, documents from the state-run National Economic and Development Authority showed.

Joven said the upcoming loan agreements would likely be signed during the seventh Philippines-Japan High-Level Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation meeting to be held in Japan this coming February.

Joven added loans would also be secured from China for the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s P20.3-billion Safe Philippines Project-Phase 1; the P175.3-billion PNR South Long-Haul between Manila and Bicol Region; and a bridge crossing Pasig River.

“We’re timing the engagement with China in time for President Duterte’s visit to China this April,” Joven said.

Neda documents showed the China loans would be for the 639-km rail project from Luzon to Matnog, Sorsogon. The project would be divided into two parts: one for the project management consultancy and another for the design-build contract.

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Groundbreaking for the PNR South Long-Haul Project would be in August, for it to be finished by 2022.

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TAGS: Business, China, Department of Finance (DOF), Japan
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