The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved on Tuesday the implementation of massive railway projects with a combined value of P654.5 billion.
In a tweet, Transportation Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez said the NEDA Board finally approved the P355.5-billion Metro Manila Subway project presented by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
The NEDA Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, approved the P124-billion Philippine National Railways (PNR) Tutuban-Los Baños South Commuter Line and the P175-billion PNR Long Haul: Manila-Matnog and Calamba-Batangas line.
The Department of Transportation can now start implementing the projects.
The Metro Manila Subway project is scheduled to be constructed next year and is targeted to be completed in 2025.
The 25-kilometer subway will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Parañaque City.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is financing the subway project with $7 billion of official development assistance which carry an interest rate of 0.10 percent a year and is payable in 40 years that includes a 12-year grace period.
The loan agreement is expected to be signed in November when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with President Rodrigo Duterte during the 31st ASEAN Summit.
The P134-billion PNR South Commuter Line is scheduled to be constructed late next year and is estimated to be completed in 2021.
According to the government's "Build, Build, Build" portal, the project is a mass transportation railway line spanning 72 kilometers and linking Manila and Los Baños in Laguna.
The P175-billion PNR Long Haul project is 581 kilometers of standard-gauge railway from Manila to Maatnog in Sorsogon. The government has not yet set a timetable for the project.
The DOTr seeks to obtain official development assistance from China to finance the PNR projects. — Ted Cordero/VDS, GMA News