Japan backs $14.4 bn Philippine projects

ASEAN+ February 17, 2018 01:00


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JAPAN will finance 19 infrastructure projects worth at least US$14.4 billion under the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” programme of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the Fourth Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation meeting in Lapu-Lapu City, the two sides discussed 11 projects in the pipeline to be financed by firm loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), six pitched for soft loans also from Jica, and three eyed for grants from the aid agency.

Documents showed that the biggest project to be funded by the Japanese government would be the 356.9-billion peso Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1, which would primarily connect Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and Food Terminal Inc in Taguig City, with a spur line to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the loan agreement for the country’s first underground rail system would be signed in March, with partial operations by the second quarter of 2022.

The construction of the 25.3-kilometre subway, whose rollout was already green-lighted by the National Economic and Development Authority Board chaired by Duterte in September last year, would start next year and is scheduled for completion in 2025.

Jica will also finance the 211.4-billion peso Philippine National Railways North 2 project connecting Malolos, Bulacan, and Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

The loan agreement for PNR North 2 is expected to be signed by the fourth quarter of this year, following the Neda Board approval in June last year.

Construction of the 69-km railway with seven stations passing through Clark International Airport will start in January next year to commence operations by the second quarter of 2022.

Another big-ticket project to be funded by a Jica loan is the 124.1-billion peso PNR South Commuter or the North-South Railway Project (NSRP)-South Line, which will run between Tutuban, Manila, and Los Ba?os, Laguna.

The Philippine and Japanese governments are hoping to sign the loan agreement for the 72-km PNR South Commuter project also in the fourth quarter. Approved by the Neda Board in September last year, the commuter railway would be constructed starting January 2019, with operations to commence in the second quarter of 2022.

The Philippines and Japan last November signed the loan agreement for the 9.9-billion peso Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project. Of the amount, 7.1 billion pesos will be financed by Jica, while the remainder will be shouldered by the government.

Also up for Jica loan financing are: the 5.3-billion peso Arterial Road Bypass Project Phase 3 (formerly Plaridel Bypass); 5.4-billion peso Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase 2; 4.8-billion peso Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project; 9.9-billion peso Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao; 26.8-billion peso Pasig River-Marikina Channel Improvement Project Phase 4; as well as the three-year Metro Rail Transit 3 Rehabilitation and Maintenance, which the Department of Transportation said would start in May.

A 1.2-billion peso supplemental loan is also being eyed for the 7.8-billion peso New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project.

Soft loans from Jica are being sought for the 10.5-billion peso Circumferential Road 3 Missing Link Project; 9.9-billion peso Para?aque Spillway Project; New Manila International Airport Project; Third Mandaue-Mactan Bridge Project in Cebu; Natural Gas Pipeline Construction Project connecting Batangas and Manila, and a Drainage System in Metro Manila.