Subic-Clark railway signing deferred
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - November 1, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government will defer the signing of a commercial agreement for one of the two China-funded railway projects, while the other is pushing through this month, transportation officials said yesterday.

Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan said the signing for the commercial agreement for the Subic-Clark railway project is postponed to a later date as China has yet to provide the government with a shortlist of contractors.

“We have not yet received the shortlist of the three turnkey contractors to whom we will issue our request for proposal,” he said.

Batan, however, said signing of the contract and loan agreement with China for the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul or PNR Bicol is pushing through this month in line with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Manila.

The Subic-Clark railway project and the PNR South Long Haul were among the infrastructure projects under the government’s Build Build Build program that will be receiving official development assistance from China.

A total of 10 financing agreements, including both projects, were expected to be signed during Xi’s visit this month.

Batan said the commercial agreement for the Subic-Clark railway is still expected to be inked within the year or early next year.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade explained that there is a certain process being followed for China-funded projects.

“The process is like this, those who want to be involved in the project that is Chinese, whether it is feasibility, construction, or management, the government of China will give three names or three entities. So for the Subic-Clark railway, we are still waiting for the nomination,” he said.

Tugade, however, said the project remains on track for completion by 2021.

As for the PNR South Long Haul, Tugade said a project management consultant which will do the terms of reference for the bidding, has already been chosen. 

“The target is to finish that (bidding) and award it by first quarter next year. Once awarded, our target for the start of construction is August next year,” he said.

The PNR South Long Haul is a 581-kilometer, standard-gauge railway from Manila to Legazpi, Matnog and Batangas City.

It involves the complete reconstruction of the legacy PNR railway into a single-track, at-grade railway.

The railway will connect cities, international seaports, and economic zones, allowing for faster transportation of passengers and freight.

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