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Japan commits 1.3 trillion yen to help build railways in PH

/ 05:14 AM June 21, 2019

The Japanese government through its aid arm Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) has pledged to lend 1.3 trillion yen (about P620 billion) to the Philippines to build more railways and ease traffic congestion.

Jica Philippines senior representative Kiyo Kawabuchi told a press conference Thursday the aid agency already committed official development assistance (ODA) loans worth 400-billion yen for railway projects.

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In a statement, Jica said the following projects were now using Jica financing: Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension; LRT Line 2 East Extension; Metro Manila Subway; Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 Rehabilitation; and North-South Commuter Railway.

Kawabuchi said Jica would have to add 900 billion yen more to its lending program for the Philippines to complete the ongoing railway projects.

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“For the railway sector, [Jica’s assistance] in itself is quite a huge amount,” she noted.

Kawabuchi said Jica’s ODA in the Philippines’ railway sector “aims to impact on wealth being distributed to other areas outside Metro Manila through investments and jobs.”

“Once completed, these transport infrastructure projects will help realize the shared vision of Jica and the Philippines towards reduced traffic congestion, seamless mobility, and better quality of life of many Filipinos,” she said.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) aimed to triple the total length of Metro Manila’s railway lines to 244 kilometers from 79 kilometers at present.

“Major cities in the world like Tokyo, Seoul, New York, and London have 400-800 kilometers of railways to keep up with urbanization and enhance mobility. The Philippines’ ongoing railway projects could therefore help address growing passenger demand and attract relevant investments into the country,” Jica said.

Jica estimates released last year showed traffic in Metro Manila was already equal to P3.5 billion in lost opportunities a day, up from P2.4 billion in 2014. —BEN O. DE VERA

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TAGS: Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), Japanese government, Kiyo Kawabuchi, Railways, traffic congestion
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