ADB to fund Manila-Calamba railway in 2020
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it will be funding another railway line for the Philippines next year, following the biggest loan it has ever granted for a local infrastructure project.
The regional lender said it is looking to lend $2.5 billion (about ₱128.7 billion) to the Philippines in 2020, matching this year's level. Some $1.2 billion (about ₱61.8 billion) will be set aside for the South Commuter Railway Project, which will link Tutuban in Manila to Calamba, Laguna. The South Commuter train line is said to be worth ₱344.6 billion, and is under the watch of the Department of Transportation.
This is a segment of the entire North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) system, which is also funded through official development assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The national government has also set aside a parallel budget of ₱84.7 billion for the NSCR next year, which is about a tenth of the ₱777.55-billion project cost.
Once completed, the entire NSCR will have 36 stations linking Clark International Airport and the New Clark City to Bulacan, Manila, all the way to Laguna.
The Manila-based ADB announced in July that it has signed the first tranche of its $2.75-billion loan for the Malolos-Clark line, the northern segment of the NSCR, which is the largest project financing the Japan-led institution to date. Construction is expected to start between April-June for the 53-kilometer train line, with partial operability targeted by 2022.
For 2019, the ADB is still looking to provide funding for Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility, which is meant to support feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs for projects under the "Build, Build, Build" program.
Lending will hit $2.5 billion by 2021, the ADB said in a statement on Thursday. This is triple the yearly average of $800 million granted between 2008 to 2018. Total lending will reach $9.1 billion from 2020 to 2022, with nearly 60 percent of the credit allotted for transportation projects.
Other projects ADB is eyeing to fund next year include the proposed EDSA Greenways Project, which will set up elevated walkways in "high-density traffic locations" along the main thoroughfare of Metro Manila. Funding is also being readied for the Integrated Flood Risk Management Sector Project, which will involve six river basins nationwide, and three bridges to help ease Metro Manila road traffic.
"ADB's 2020 program will also include financing for the Expanded Social Assistance Project, which will build on a decade of ADB assistance to the government's conditional cash transfer program and support for the government's agricultural competitiveness program," the lender said.