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Japan extends $130 million loan for MRT-3 rehab

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
Japan extends $130 million loan for MRT-3 rehab
Metro Rail Transit (MRT) coaches undergo maintenance service at the MRT Line 3 depot in Quezon City on Wednesday (November 9, 2022).
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has inked a $130-million supplemental loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the rehabilitation of the 16.9-kilometer Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) along EDSA.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno signed the MRT-3 rehabilitation project (II) loan agreement with JICA chief representative in the Philippines Sakamoto Takema Friday at the Department of Finance (DOF) office in Manila.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) originally approved the project in August 2018 with the aim of improving the safety and service of the MRT-3.

The MRT-3 is a 16.9-km mass rail transit system with 13 stations along EDSA from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City.

The rehabilitation includes provisions for capacity including rolling stock, rail tracks, signaling system, power supply system, overhead catenary system (OCS), communications system, and depot and station equipment.

The supplemental loan for the MRT-3 was approved by the NEDA Board on Feb. 2, 2023 to finance the increase in the total project cost amounting to P29.6 billion, following the additional scope of work submitted by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

These covers the integration and capacity expansion, complete rehabilitation, operation and maintenance (O&M) concession dovetailing with the expiry of the build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement in 2025 and addition and extension of maintenance works to account for the six-month period of community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan is concessional as it carries an interest rate of 0.10 percent per annum for non-consulting services and 0.01 percent per annum for consulting services, to be repaid in 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

Japan is the Philippines’ top official development assistance (ODA) partner as of end-March, with total ODA commitments at around $10.4 billion including loans and grants.

Following the signing of the loan agreement, Japan’s total loan net commitment now amounts to around $10.3 billion, with a total ODA commitment of $10.5 billion.

Two loans amounting to $2.8 billion were already signed with JICA within the first quarter of 2023. Among these projects are the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project (Phase I) (II) and the NSCR Extension Project (II).

DOTr Undersecretary Reinier Paul Yebra and Assistant Secretary Jorjette Aquino, along with Embassy of Japan to the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Matsuda Kenichi and Economic Minister Nihei Daisuke, witnessed the ceremonial signing of the loan agreement.

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