Japan commitment to Philippine rail projects: P625 billion
The Japanese government, through its aid arm Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), has promised to lend the Philippines at least P620 billion for more railways that Philippine government planners hope would ease road gridlock, which Jica had estimated costs the Philippine economy at least P3.5 billion a day.
Kiyo Kabawuchi, Jica Philippine senior representative, said at a press conference on Thursday (June 20) that Jica had already committed financing for rail projects through official development assistance (ODA) loans, which carry low interests.
In a statement, Jica said these projects now enjoy Jica financing: Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) Cavite Extension, LRT Line 2 East Extension, Metro Manila Subway, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation and North-South Commuter Railway.
Kawabuchi said Jica would have to add more than P400 billion more to its loans for the Philippines to complete railway projects.
The amount being lent to the railway sector, Kawabuchi said, “is in itself quite a huge amount.”
She said the result that Jica wanted to see was the development of areas outside Metro Manila, “seamless mobility and better quality of life for many Filipinos.”
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is rolling out railway projects that would more than triple Metro Manila’s only 79-kilometer worth of railway lines at present to 244 kilometers, while also extending them to the Clark Freeport Zone up north and the Bicol Region down to the east.
“Major cities in the world like Tokyo, Seoul, New York, and London have as much as 400-800 kilometers of railways to keep up with urbanization and enhance mobility,” the Jica statement said.
“The Philippines’ ongoing railway projects could therefore help address growing passenger demand and attract relevant investments into the country,” Jica said. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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