ADB to lend $2.6B for Pillippines’ Rail Project

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is scheduled to green-light its second-biggest loan ever to its host-country the Philippines next year, this time for the massive railway project that will run between Manila and Laguna,Inquirer News has reported.

On the sidelines of last week’s Urban Transport for Livable Cities Forum 2019, ADB principal transport specialist for Southeast Asia Markus Roesner told the Inquirer that the Manila-based multilateral lender’s board was expected to approve a $2.61-billion loan for the 54.6-kilometer (km) South Commuter Railway Project by the third quarter of 2020.

This year, the ADB approved its largest loan to the Philippines—$2.75 billion for the 51.2-km Malolos-Clark Railway Project and the 1.9-km Blumentritt Extension of Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1.

Just like the Malolos-Clark Railway, the South Commuter Railway between Tutuban in Manila and Calamba, Laguna, will be co-financed by the ADB and the Japanese government’s aid arm Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), Roesner said.

Last January, Jica already signed with the Philippine government a 167.2-billion yen official development assistance (ODA) loan for the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Extension Project, which expanded the scope of the ongoing NSCR Phase 1 between Manila and Malolos, Bulacan, to Clark International Airport up north and Calamba down south.

Even as the ADB loan to fund the South Commuter Railway will be made available next year, advance procurement will start late this year, according to Roesner.

According to the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, the P344.6-billion Philippine National Railways South Commuter Line will involve construction of an electrified, double-track, standard-gauge, elevated rail system, which will start operations in 2023.

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