By: Ben O. de Vera
RAILWAY TO BE FINANCED BY CHINESE GOVERNMENT
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board Meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room in Malacañang in this file photo taken on June 27, 2017. Also in the photo are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. (PHOTO BY RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)
Economic managers have approved the P50-billion Subic-Clark Railway project that will not only connect the two industrial hubs in Central Luzon but also eventually be part of the larger network of rails connecting major sea ports in Luzon island.
The project was green-lighted during last Friday’s National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee meeting, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters late Friday.
As such, it will be next for approval by the Neda Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, at a still unscheduled meeting.
Dominguez noted that once completed, the project to be implemented by the Department of Transportation will be part of the railway network connecting Subic, Manila and Batangas, which host busy ports.
Besides the Subic-Clark Railway, also to be rolled out are rail systems connecting Clark to Malolos in Bulacan, to Manila, and to the Bicol Region through Laguna and Batangas provinces.
Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan told the Inquirer Saturday that the Subic-Clark Railway will be financed by the Chinese government.
The Department of Finance earlier said that China may provide the Philippines a $947.64-million loan to rollout the railway system.
Last November, Dominguez and China commerce vice minister and international trade representative Fu signed a memorandum of understanding “to jointly identify and study an indicative list consisting of the second basket of key infrastructure cooperation projects for possible Chinese financing,” which besides the Subic-Clark Railway also includes the Davao City expressway as well as the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Inter-Island Bridge.
The first basket of infrastructure projects to be funded by China included the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam and the National Irrigation Administration’s Chico River Pump Irrigation Facility projects, whose 85 percent of the total contract amounts were covered by the financing cooperation agreement signed by Dominguez with the Export-Import Bank of China.
In particular, China will provide soft loans amounting $234.92 million for the Kaliwa Dam project on top of $72.49 million for the Chico River Pump Irrigation project, the DOF had said.
Tungpalan had said the government will break ground for 34 or almost half of the 75 flagship infrastructure projects under the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program.
Under “Build, Build, Build,” the government plans to rollout 75 “game-changing” projects, with about half targeted to be finished within President Duterte’s term, alongside spending a total of up to P9 trillion on hard and modern infrastructure until 2022 to usher in “the golden age of infrastructure” after years of neglect.
Source : http://business.inquirer.net/244923/subic-clark-railway-project-duterte-rail-transportation-sea-ports-neda-economy-infrastructure