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Philippines, JICA working on next tranches of financing for Metro Manila Subway project

The Philippine government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are working on the next tranches of financing for the Metro Manila Subway project.

Asked when the next tranches of loan deals will be signed, JICA president Tanaka Akihiko said, "It’s up to the agreements between the two governments."

"I cannot let you know the exact date, but I’m quite hopeful that the signing should be coming soon," he said on Thursday.

The Philippine government and JICA have so far signed two tranches of loan agreements—the first tranche amounting to ¥104.53 billion, or P47.58 billion, was signed in March 2018, while the second tranche, amounting to ¥253.31 billion, or P112.87 billion, was inked in February 2022.

Kuronuma Kenji, JICA Philippines senior representative, said that the number of tranches of loan funding is not fixed. 

"It will be determined during discussions between the two governments. It will depend on the progress of the funds and the construction," Kuronuma said.

JICA Philippines chief representative Sakamoto Takema said that the agency will follow the diplomatic process of exchanging loans.

Sakamoto added that the signing of the next tranches of loan agreements for the project "depends on the speed of the progress of the civil works on the ground."

The Metro Manila Subway has a total project cost of P488.48 billion or ¥1.08 trillion.

The bulk of the project will be funded by JICA, accounting for 75.9% or P370.77 billion. The Philippines will finance the remaining 24.1% or P117.71 billion.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has started the tunneling work for the subway project earlier this month.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista earlier said that the government was planning to award all of the contract packages for the P488-billion project within 2023.

So far, the DOTr has awarded four contract packages for the project.

These are the CP 101, covering four stations—East Valenzuela, Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, and North Avenue—and the depot and the Philippine Railway Institute Building, bagged by a joint venture led by EEI Corp.; the CP 102, comprising the stations in Quezon Avenue and East Avenue, bagged by D.M. Consunji Inc.; the CP 103, bagged by Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. Ltd., which involves the stations from Anonas to Camp Aguinaldo; and Megawide Construction Corp. was awarded the CP 104, which covers the Ortigas to Shaw Boulevard segment. 

The Philippines’ first subway rail system is part of the former administration’s "Build Build Build" flagship infrastructure program. 

It will be 33 kilometers long with 17 stations.

The project aims to cut travel time from North Avenue in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from one hour and 10 minutes to just 35 minutes.

It will traverse the cities of Valenzuela, Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Parañaque, and Pasay.

The line will have an initial capacity of up to one million passengers per day. —VBL, GMA Integrated News