Manila, Philippines – The Metro Manila Subway project is another step closer to getting underway after the Philippines and Japan signed the first of a planned series of loan agreements.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Friday, March 16, announced the signing the first tranche of the loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), amounting to ¥104.53 billion or P51.3 billion.
Dominguez said the loan carries an interest rate of 0.10% per annum for non-consulting services, and 0.01% per annum for consulting services, to be repaid within 40 years inclusive of a 12-year grace period.
JICA said the loan agreement will cover actual demand for funding for the initial years of the project.
“As the Philippines’ trusted partner in development for many years, JICA offers our support to the construction of the subway project so the Philippines can sustain its growth trajectory, and improve the quality of life of many Filipinos through seamless mobility and connectivity,” newly appointed JICA Chief Representative Yoshio Wada said in a statement.
This is the first loan signed for Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Subway Project which is estimated to cost a total of P356.96 billion. It is the biggest single project so far under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
Dominguez said that Phase 1 will cover the Central Zone, which involve 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 the Department of Transportation – from Mindanao Avenue to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The project also includes a depot in Valenzuela, electro-mechanical systems and rolling stock, and the establishment of a Philippine Railway Institute (PRI).
The finance secretary said that the PRI will provide training as well as research and development on regulation, train operations, and maintenance in order to build a corps of expert train personnel to manage not only the subway system but all the commuter rail lines of the country.
“It is about time that our commuter lines be run by real experts,” Dominguez said.
The engineering design for the project, which is also being funded under a JICA grant, is still being made.
Dominguez also said that the plan for the subway line envisions a North Zone that will extend to Bulacan and a South Zone that will extend to Cavite.
“I am confident that the succeeding administrations will get this done,” he said.