The Department of Transportation said it expects to obtain a loan from China this year for the P151-billion Philippine National Railways South Long-haul project.
“Our target is to sign the loan agreement during the visit of President Xi of China this year,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said during an economic forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines at Ayuntamiento de Manila in Intramuros, Manila Tuesday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit the Philippines after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit on Nov. 12 to 18 in Papua New Guinea.
The PNR South Long-haul project is a 581-kilometer, standard-gauge railway from Manila to Legazpi, Matnog and Batangas City. The railway will connect cities, international seaports and economic zones, allowing faster transportation of passengers and freight.
The project involves the complete reconstruction of the legacy PNR railway into a single-track, at-grade railway
The government targets to start operation of the PNR South long-haul project by the second quarter of 2022.
Besides PNR South long haul, the government will also construct the P134-billion PNR South Commuter project, a 72-kilometer mass transportation railway from Manila to Los Baños, Laguna.
It is expected to have more than 300,000 passengers daily in its opening year. It will cut travel time between Manila and Calamba by more than half from over two hours today to under one hour once the railway is fully operational.
The PNR South Commuter will be seamlessly integrated with PNR North 1, PNR North 2 and PNR South Long Haul.
The P150-billion PNR 2 is a 69.5-km railway that will extend PNR North 1, connecting NCR with Clark International Airport and New Clark City. This will cut one-way travel time to 56 minutes between Manila and Clark International Airport.
The P105.31 billion PNR North 1 is a 38-km line that will connect Malolos, Bulacan with NCR. It will reduce travel time between these two areas from over one hour and thirty minutes today to 35 minutes once the railway is fully operational.
The project is expected to serve more than 300,000 passengers daily in its opening year in 2021.