MANILA – The country’s first underground railway was brought closer to reality yesterday, 27 July 2021, with the formal signing of an additional JPY253-billion (P116-billion) loan package to finance its construction.
The exchange of notes for the official development assistance (ODA) loan was signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko.
The second tranche of the project’s ODA loan has an interest rate of 0.10% per annum, is 40 years to pay, and has a 13-year grace period. This follows the first tranche (JPY104.530 billion) of the ODA loan for the subway project, the formal agreement for which was signed on 13 November 2017.
“The Metro Manila Subway will be a shining monument, better yet a state of the art working system attesting to the deep friendship between the Philippines and Japan. Japan holds a pre-eminent role in our government’s infrastructure development agenda, which is a priority of President Duterte’s administration,” Secretary Locsin said.
“I also laud the hard work put in by various Philippine agencies – the Department of Finance, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Transportation, and Secretary Art Tugade (in my long experience the best, most achievement-laden Cabinet Secretary I’ve ever known) – which ensured the realization of this project,” Sec. Locsin added.
“This year marks the 65th Anniversary of the normalization of Diplomatic Relations and 10th Anniversary of Strategic Partnership between Japan and the Philippines. This signing will deepen and strengthen the cooperation and partnership of both countries, and I am happy to sign this Exchange of Notes today,” Ambassador Koshikawa said.
A Build Build Build flagship infrastructure project of the Duterte Administration, the 33-kilometer Metro Manila Subway Project will have 17 stations and aims to cut travel time from North Avenue in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from 1 hour and 10 minutes to just 35 minutes. It will traverse the cities of Valenzuela, Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Parañaque and Pasay. The line will have an initial capacity of up to 1 million passengers per day.
With the project’s financing in place, the construction of the subway line’s first segment is already ongoing with two (2) out of 25 tunnel boring machines already in Manila. Meanwhile, the line’s trains are also ongoing manufacturing, and with all contracts to be awarded before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.