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China to lend $600M for RP transport projects

China is lending $600 million to help finance the North Rail project and install container inspection equipment in Philippine ports, documents obtained from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show. The BSP approved a $500 million loan for the project to link Metro Manila by rail to central and northern Luzon and a $100 million loan for the Non-Intrusive Container Inspection System Project. Beijing would extend the loans through the Export Import Bank of China. The $500 million loan would bankroll Phase 1 Section 2 of the North Rail, which is designed to decongest road traffic and provide for more efficient transport of passengers and cargo. This phase seeks to lay a 48-kilometer double narrow-guage rail track running through Malolos, Bulacan, several towns in Pampanga and Clark Special Economic Zone. It would use existing right of way of the Philippine National Railways. The 20-year loan carries an interest rate of 3% per annum. China Eximbank would fund 95% of the project cost, with the balance to be funded by the Philippine government. The other loan for $100-million would finance acquisition of 20 scanning machines for use in critical ports of entry. The equipment would help balance inter-port inspection load, improve inspection efficiency and lead to more equitable development efforts in key regions. The loan is denominated in renminbi with a 20-year maturity and a 2% annual interest rate.-GMANews.TV