BCDA sees Northrail completed by 2022

Posted on December 16, 2016

THE Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) expects to have the Northrail project done before the end of the government’s term in 2022, an official said.

Vivencio B. Dizon, president and CEO of state-owned BCDA, told reporters in a briefing that the government is seeking partners to finish the long delayed project which would connect Metro Manila with Central Luzon.

He said that Japan, Germany, and Russia have expressed interest in the project, but companies belonging to the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp. for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) have submitted a proposal to do the feasibility study for the project.

“Our plan is to finish the railway… all the way to Clark by 2022,” he said yesterday.

“For now, our Japanese partners have submitted a proposal for them to do the feasibility study for the Malolos to Clark segment,” he said.

The planned 80-kilometer project would connect Tutuban to Malolos, then leading up eventually to Clark. Japan International Cooperation Agency has provided a grant for the construction of the segment connecting Tutuban to Malolos.

Mr. Dizon said that the segment connecting Tutuban to Malolos is in the “detailed engineering design phase,” which is expected to work out the specifics of the project by the second quarter of next year. This will be followed by a bidding process.

BCDA used to be the lead implementing agency of the project. To do so, it created a subsidiary named North Luzon Railways Corp. However, the Department of Transportation is now in charged with implementing both segments of the project, Mr. Dizon said.

“The interest of BCDA is in the Malolos to Clark segment because Clark is BCDA property. There is still no detailed design there,” he said, while adding that BCDA will support the transportation department for implementation of the Northrail.

The BCDA head also said that the agency is now considering the possibility of dissolving Northrail.

“On the part of BCDA, we are already studying the possibility of dissolving Northrail as a corporation because it does not really serve a purpose now. Right now, its only purpose is to be the other party in an arbitration case.”

Mr. Dizon was referring to the legal battle with China National Machinery and Equipment Group, which was initially selected to do the Northrail project, before being dropped, triggering the legal dispute. -- Roy Stephen C. Canivel