PHL, ADB sign loan for Malolos–Clark Railway Project
Finance Secretary Mr. Carlos Dominguez III and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed today signed a $1.3 billion loan, the first tranche of a total $2.75 billion facility, for the Malolos–Clark Railway Project in a ceremony witnessed by Philippine President Mr. Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañan Palace.
The Malolos-Clark railway project is part of the government’s 163-km North–South Commuter Railway project, which aims to link New Clark City, Clark and Clark International Airport with Manila and Calamba by 2025.
Domiguez said the MCRP is ADB’s single largest infrastructure investment in the Philippines and in any country since its establishment.
The second tranche of the loan agreement is $1 billion while the third one will be $0.45 billion. Each tranche is considered a stand-alone loan requiring its own processes for approval and effectivity.
Expected to cut travel time from Metro Manila to Clark International Airport from Manila to Clark International Airport to less than one hour from the current travel time of 2 to 3 hours by car or bus, the Malolos-Clark Railway Project is expected to be partially operational by 2022.
In a speech, President Duterte also ordered the Department of Transportation to fasttrack the construction of the MCRP, which amounted to a total of $6.139 billion.
“I am directing the Department of Transportation to fast track the completion of the MCRP and observe the highest quality standards as we complete this railway project.
By the time it is completed, I expect that our people, especiallythose from Central Luzon, will greatly feel the impact of our Build, Build, Build program,” he said.
Meanwhile, ADB also vowed to continue supporting the government in its journey towards providing better lives for the Filipino people, adding that they are expecting its annual lending to reach a record $2.5 billion, more than double the amount in 2018. Half of which will go to infrastructure investments.
“Our work in the Philippines has always held a special place in the history of ADB. Now, under President Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program, ADB is considerably scaling up its own support to the government,” ADB Vice President Ahmed Saeed said in a speech in a ceremony in Malacanang. “The Malolos–Clark Railway Project is ADB’s single largest infrastructure project financing ever at $2.75 billion. We are pleased to be supporting this important flagship project in our host country.”
The new railway project will also be built using high quality construction methods to achieve a a maximum rail speed of 160km per hour.
While the ADB will be financing civil works of the Malolos-Clark Railway Project, including the stations, bridges, tunnels, viaducts, and depot buildings, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will be financing the core system, such as track depot equipment, power supply and electrification, signalling and telecommunications systems, and procurement of rolling stock as well as consulting services.
Broken down, ADB’s $2.75 billion comprises the biggest share or 44.8 percent of the estimated total project cost of the MCRP of $6.139 billion. Meanwhile, Jica will be funding a total of 2.011 billion or 32.75 percent of the project cost while the Philippine government will shoulder 1.378 billion or 22.45 percent.
Commuters will be able to easily transfer from public buses and jeepneys to trains as the rail stations will include multimodal facilities. The underground station which will be located at the Clark International Airport will also provide a short connection to upcoming and future airport terminals.
Flood risks are also expected to be mitigated along the route as the project will be built on elevated alignment. This will also help reduce the impact on communities and avoid disruption of activities.
New construction methods, such as pre-fabricated viaduct segments, will be used to limit the need for land acquisition and accelerate construction.