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PBBM’s railway projects on right track - DOTr

The railway projects under the Marcos administration are on the right track, a transportation official said on Saturday, noting that the government has improved the current operating lines and is fast tracking the existing rail projects.

In a news forum in Quezon City, Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez reported that the four operating lines – the Philippine National Railway (PNR), Light Rail Transit Lines 1, 2, and Metro Rail Transit (MRT 3) - are improving significantly.

“Halimbawa, PNR inabutan natin ng nine train sets, ngayon ay 15. We hope to produce additional train set or increase to 16 by August, next month. Second, iyong MRT 3 natin ay nag-increase ang ridership, well, tapos na ang pandemic,” Chavez said during the forum.

“But at the same time iyong 72 na bagon, CKD, ay nakumpleto. The Duterte Administration completed around 55, overhauled 55 light rail vehicles, mga bagon. At iyong 72 within the first six months of the Marcos administration completed, which means general overhauled.”

For LRT Line 2, one coach was added, Chavez said, adding that, from January to June this year, the ridership increased by 300,000 passengers a day, which means improvement in operating lines.

The transportation official also reported that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is fast tracking the implementation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)- and Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded projects and other PPP projects.

With regard to the JICA-funded Manila to Malolos railway projects, Chavez said only three stations have not commenced construction—the Tutuban, Solis and Caloocan stations. All the rest – Bocaue, Balagtas, Meycauayan, Marilao stations - are between 42 to 80 percent complete.

This means the seven stations from Valenzuela to Malolos will be operational by 2027, the transportation official said, adding that for the North 2 project, the Malolos to Clark line, five additional stations are already in advanced development status.

According to Chavez, the Manila to Malolos line was procured and funded during the late president Benigno Aquino III’s administration, while the Malolos to Clark was funded and procured during the Duterte administration.

“Iyong South Commuter, this is Manila to Calamba na 56 kilometers, covering about 19 stations, all contracts were signed during the Marcos Administration,” he said.

The 19 station civil works are all funded by ADB, while the electromechanical and rolling stock are funded by JICA.

The North-South Commuter Railway Project, with a project cost of around P873 billion, is jointly funded by ADB and JICA; P369 billion by JICA; P333 billion by ADB; and, Philippine government counterpart is about P173 billion.

For the Metro Manila subway project, which was approved and funded during the Duterte administration, contractors bored 230 meters for the first tunnel boring machine (TBM), from Valenzuela to Quirino Avenue and Mindanao Avenue, Chavez said.

Proponents expect that the tunnel from Valenzuela to Quirino and Mindanao Avenue will be completed by December.

Tunnel boring operation for the subway project started during the Marcos administration. | PND


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