Filtered By: Money

PHL, JICA sign ¥104.53-B loan deal for Metro Manila subway

The Philippine government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed on Friday the first tranche of a financing agreement for the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway project.


The first tranche of the loan deal amounts to ¥104.530 billion or around P51 billion.

It carries an interest rate of 0.10 percent per annum for non-consulting services and 0.01 percent per annum for consulting services to be repaid within 40 years including a 12-year grace period.

The agreement was signed by top officials of the Philippine government and JICA in Manila.

Signing for the Philippines were Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy Batan.

The Japanese government was represented by incoming JICA Chief Representative Yoshio Wada, outgoing JICA Chief Representative Susumo Ito, and Japan Embassy representative Noboru Kageyama.

“This project, which is the Phase I of the Metro Manila Subway Project, is so far the biggest single project under the Build, Build, Build program of President Duterte,” Dominguez said in his remarks during the signing ceremony.

“For the first phase, we calculate a total project cost of P356.96 billion or $7.05 billion. This phase, covering the Central Zone, involves the construction of about 30 kilometers of underground railway with 14 stations with the possible extension of one to two more stations being planned by DOTr, from Mindanao Avenue to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA),” Dominguez said.

The project includes a depot in Valenzuela City, electro-mechanical systems and rolling stock, and the establishment of a Philippine Railway Institute (PRI).

“The Institute will provide training as well as do research and development on regulation, train operations and maintenance. This will build a corps of expert train personnel to manage not only the subway system but all the commuter rail lines of the country,” Dominguez noted.

First subway rail system

“It is about time that our commuter lines be run by real experts,” he said.

The detailed engineering design for the subway, which is being funded under a JICA grant, is now ongoing.

“The design includes flood management features and applies the best seismic technology there is. We will acquire tunnel boring equipment to hasten the construction period. The Philippine government commits to working on this project 25/8 to get it done at the soonest possible time,” the Finance chief said.

The Philippines’ first subway rail system stretches 30 kilometers. It has 14 stations, from Mindanao Ave. in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City, with a provision for a 5-km extension and two additional stations to connect with the Light Rail Transit Line 1.

The subway train is expected to reduce commuting time from Quezon City to the airport to under 40 minutes. The actual construction works is scheduled before the year ends.
Partial operations of the first three stations is expected in 2022, with the whole system to be fully operational by 2025.

“We are targeting May 2022 to begin operation of the first three of the subway stations—Mindanao Avenue-Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, and North Avenue. The entire Central Zone will be operational by 2025, including the commercial space for the subway stations that will help defray the cost of operating this facility,” Dominguez said.

An estimated 370,000 commuters are expected to benefit each day during the first year of operations of the subway project.

“Previously thought by many to be impossible, today’s milestone in realizing the Philippines’ first subway project is a testament to the adage that bold problems require bold solutions, and that bold solutions require bold and visionary leaders to deliver,” Batan said.

Dominguez noted that in line with the “fast and sure” approach, the Philippine government processed the loan approvals for the project in six months.

“The timely completion of the subway project will crown the aggressive infrastructure program the administration of President Duterte has initiated. It will likewise crown the achievement of the economic diplomacy the Duterte administration has undertaken,” Dominguez said. —VDS, GMA News