March 16, 2018 at 10:00 pm
Julito G. Rada
THE Philippines and the Japan International Cooperation Agency on Friday signed a 104.53-billion yen (about P50.2 billion) official development assistance to fund the initial phase of the 25-kilometer Metro Manila subway project, one of the major infrastructure projects of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and chief representative Yoshio Wada of Jica signed the funding agreement at the Department of Finance building in Manila.
The amount represents the first tranche of the approximately P356.96 billion ($7.05 billion) loan from Jica for the construction of the 25-kilometer subway that is expected to help decongest the metropolis.
The traffic snarl is causing around P3.5 billion in economic losses daily, based on the preliminary results of the Followup Survey on the Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for the Greater Capital Region.
Traffic costs are the economic costs of transportation, including vehicle operating costs and time costs spent in traffic in Metro Manila.
The Department of Transportation said the first phase would cover three stations in Quezon City—Mindanao Avenue, Quirino and Tandang Sora. The project will start from Mindanao Avenue to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“Because of the large amount [of the project], we consider this a ‘dream’ becoming a reality,” Dominguez said after the signing ceremony.
He said the government would work “25/8” to make the project as soon as possible. The National Economic and Development Authority approved the subway project in September 2017.
Jica’s Wada said the project was a major development in the country’s transportation sector. He said the subway would help in moving people and goods in the Mega Manila area and surrounding areas as well.
The DoTr estimates around 26 million people are affected by the daily traffic in the metropolis.
Dominguez said the signing of the succeeding tranches of the loan would depend on how quickly the government completes the first part of the project. He said the government also planned to lease the spaces near the subway project so that revenues to be derived from it could contribute to the payment of the loan.
“As the Philippines’ trusted partner in development for many years, Jica offers our support to the construction of the subway project so the Philippines can sustain its growth trajectory, and improve the quality of life of many Filipinos through seamless mobility and connectivity,” Wada said.
Jica, the world’s largest bilateral aid agency, is one of the Philippines’ major development partners with official development assistance amounting to $16.4 billion as of 2016.