Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, on behalf of the Philippines, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) senior vice president Yasushi Tanaka, on behalf of Japan, signed Thursday the 38.1-billion yen loan agreement for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line-3 System Rehabilitation Project, which aims to improve the safety, reliability and level of service of the 16.9-kilometer light rail system with 13 stations spanning across EDSA. Also in attendance during the loan signing ceremony were Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, JICA Chief Representative Yoshio Wada and Department of Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan.
Philippines, Japan sign loan agreement for MRT-3 rehab
( - November 8, 2018 - 6:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the Japan International Cooperation Agency signed on Thursday an P18-billion loan agreement for the rehabilitation of the overstretched Metro Rail Transit-3.

From servicing 500,000 passengers per day in 2012, the MRT-3 was only able to accommodate around 388,000 passengers in 2017 owing to the deteriorating condition of the system, which led to train stoppages, system failures, engine breakdowns and faulty air conditioning units. 

At the signing ceremony, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that under the terms of the accord, the loan covers an interest rate of 0.10 percent per annum for non-consulting services and 0.01 percent per annum for consulting services, with a maturity period of 40 years inclusive of a 12-year grace period. 

The MRT-3 rehabilitation project will cost a total of P21.96 billion (approximately $413 million), of which ¥38.1 billion (about P18.76 billion or $362 million) will be funded by an official development assistance loan from JICA. The remaining amount of P3.19 billion (about $62 million) will be funded locally.

The Department of Transportation has tapped again the services of Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the original maintenance provider of the 16.9-kilometer light rail system. 

“This is by every measure a very soft loan that will enable us to address a very pressing problem,” Dominguez said. 

Rehabilitation to start in January

According to DOTr Undersecretary Timothy John Batan, the rehabilitation of the entire MRT system will be done in 26 months starting January next year. An additional 17 months will be needed to overhaul all 72 MRT trains.

“The assumption is that we’re not going to reduce the current capacity that we have for MRT 3 in the first seven to 14 months,” Batan said.

“Then after the first seven to 14 months we are going to gradually increase capacity from what we have today. So we’ll keep what we have now as the minimum at the beginning because that’s the time that we will have a lot of works,” he added. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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