Japan commits biggest ODA package for Philippine rail project

The Japanese government is giving Philippines US$2 billion through official development assistance (ODA) loan package for the North-South Commuter Rail (NSCR) Project-Phase 1. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario received the pledge during a meeting with Japan State Minister for Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi on August 5 at the sidelines of ASEAN Ministerial and Related Meetings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

DFA said the pledge is in accordance with the commitment of the Japanese government in firming up its cooperation with the Philippines for the said project as part of the PHL-Japan “Cooperation Roadmap for Quality Infrastructure Development in the Transport Sector in Metropolitan Manila Area,” which was agreed upon during President Benigno Aquino III’s State Visit to Japan last June 2-5.

“The North-South Commuter Rail (NSCR) Project-Phase 1 is poised to be the single-biggest ODA yen loan package to date that Japan has given any development partner,” DFA said.

NSCR Project-Phase 1 will be handled by the government through the implementation of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). The project will involve construction of a 36.7-kilometer narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway from Malolos to Tutuban.

“It will be high-speed, it will not be a bullet train, but will be a high-speed electric train,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Deputy Director General Rolando G. Tungpalan said previously.

The NSCR-South Line phase will be through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project under DOTC.