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JICA funding eyed for south line of North-South rail project

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government is considering tapping financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the south line of the North-South Railway project (NSRP) after securing a loan from the agency for the initial phase of the project.

Transport Secretary Joseph Abaya said the government is planning to seek the assistance of the JICA for the south line of the NSRP.

“We have yet to sit down with them (JICA) on the nature of the assistance but probably (it will be for) the integration, the seamless connection and likewise where north and south will meet,” he said.

Should a loan be requested and given by JICA for the south line or second phase of the NSRP, he said the project would have to go back to the National Economic and Development Authority for approval.

JICA chief representative Noriaki Niwa told reporters the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has yet to approach the agency to ask for assistance for the second phase of the NSRP.

Last week, JICA and the government signed an agreement for a $2 billion loan to fund the first phase of the NSRP which involves the construction of the 37-kilometer (km) new elevated commuter railway from Malolos in Bulacan to Tutuban in Manila, procurement of rolling stock and installation of electro-mechanical systems.

The $2 billion loan is the biggest amount ever extended by JICA to a country for a single project. 

The second phase or south line of the NSRP covering the construction and rehabilitation of approximately 653-km commuter railway operations from Tutuban to Calamba and long haul rail operations on the branch line from Calamba and Batangas and extension from Legaspi in Albay to Matnog in Sorsogon, will be implemented as a PPP deal.

The south line of the NSRP is under procurement and interested firms are given until Feb. 1 to submit their bids.

PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said four firms have so far purchased bid documents for the PPP project. These are Metro Pacific Investments Corp., San Miguel Corp., Ayala Corp. and India’s IL&FS.

Niwa said he is hopeful the Japanese government would consider providing assistance for the PPP deal as well as give additional support for other projects such as the subway which will cover San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan until Dasmarinas in Cavite, and the new Manila international airport, if and when requests are made by the Philippines.

JICA has completed and submitted the pre-feasibility study on the proposed subway to the DOTC.

“If Philippine government requests for further assistance on feasibility study, we are willing to conduct another feasibility study,” Niwa said.

 

AYALA CORP BULACAN CALAMBA AND BATANGAS COSETTE CANILAO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS IF PHILIPPINE JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY JICA METRO PACIFIC INVESTMENTS CORP NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY NIWA
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