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ADB approves Malolos-Clark rail assistance package

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BERNARD P. TESTA

THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT Bank (ADB) has approved a $2-million technical assistance grant for the 51-kilometer Malolos-Clark railway.

The ADB approved the Railway Project Implementation Support and Institutional Strengthening project on Aug. 22, drawn from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, according to ADB documents.

The grant seeks to “help the government to prepare project implementation and project management, establish the institutional structure as required under the policy framework for the future railway sector in the Philippines and develop the capacity to manage operation and maintain the ensuing project.”

This includes consulting services to support the Department of Transportation (DoTr) in land acquisition, resettlement and livelihood skills development activities for persons affected by the project; consulting services to support procurement activities; consulting services to develop and implement a public communication strategy with project affected persons; consulting services to develop and implement gender mainstreaming activities under the gender action plan; and other support by consultants and training as required to accelerate project implementation.

The Philippine National Railway (PNR) North 2 Malolos-Clark railway is among the government’s flagship infrastructure projects to decongest Manila, which will link Malolos, Bulacan to Clark International Airport and Clark Green City.

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According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the project will cost P211.43 billion, and will be co-financed by the ADB and the Japanese government.

The project is targeted to start construction by the third quarter next year, and completed by 2024.

NEDA said right-of-way clearing is ongoing, and detailed engineering design is expected to be completed by March or April next year.

The Philippine government also expects the exchange of notes and signing of the loan agreement with Japan in the fourth quarter this year.

The government is relying largely on infrastructure to boost economic growth to 7-8% until 2022, and reduce poverty rate to 14% by then. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan

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