The Department of Transportation signed two civil works contracts with local and foreign companies worth nearly P38 billion ($728 million) for the flagship Malolos-Clark Railway Project which is financed by the Asian Development Bank.
The contract signing will jumpstart the construction of a safe, affordable, reliable and environment-friendly railway connecting the northern provinces and Metro Manila and create jobs 24,000 jobs.
“Signing a contract is one thing, making it happen, completing it, realizing it is another. Today, we sign a contract, all of us hold hands, and make a firm commitment that as we sign together, we will make this project come true, and together, we shall achieve and we shall accomplish,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
Tugade signed the first two contract packages, along with Acciona Construction Philippines director Ruben Eugenio Garcia and EEI Corp. chief financial officer Angel Fernandez de la Pradilla for Package N-04 and POSCO Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. executive vice president Dong Ho Kim and vice president Sung Wook Chung for Package N-05.
Contract Package N-04 of the PNR Clark Phase 2 covers the civil engineering and building works for 6.3 kilometers of the main line and 1.6 kilometers of the depot’s access line, with one underground station serving Clark International Airport.
Contract Package N-05 covers the civil engineering and building works for the Clark Railway Depot, covering an overall area of 33 hectares, including the operations control center, stabling yard, workshops, training center and other ancillary buildings in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
ADB director-general for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam considered the signing of the two civil works contracts a milestone for the government’s landmark “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure development program.
“ADB remains strongly committed to working with the government, development partners and the private sector to deliver infrastructure for all Filipinos. The Malolos-Clark Railway is expected to be
completed by 2024. When the entire North–South Commuter Railway system is operational, we expect up to one million passengers will ride the train daily on this modern, safe, and efficient system by 2040,” Subramaniam said.
“I want to send a message to the Filipino people that we have never stopped working, we have kept the ball rolling to deliver the much-needed transport infrastructure projects of the country. This is our own way of saying ‘Build, Build, Build’ continues,” Tugade said.
The Malolos–Clark Railway Project, part of the 163-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway Project, will ease road congestion in the capital and nearby provinces and reduce annual traffic-related
economic costs, which total $18 billion in Metro Manila alone.
It will help push economic activity to regional growth centers like Clark in Pampanga province.
The project will cut the travel time between Clark and Manila from two to three hours by bus to one hour by train, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60,000 tons annually.
The civil works will help the Philippines’ economic revival as it will create about 24,000 local construction jobs in the next three years and 14,000 more jobs related to the railway system’s
operation. It will lead to larger, indirect employment and economic benefits to local businesses, such as suppliers of raw materials, which in turn will create more jobs.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is co-financing the project, will provide up to $2 billion in additional funding for the rolling stock and railway systems. With Julito G. Rada