By Denise A. Valdez
THE government’s plan to build a cargo train connecting Subic to Clark is targeted to start next year, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said.
“Magtatayo kami ng [We will build a] train from Subic to Clark. There will be a cargo train. Siguro mga next year maumpisahan na ’yun [By next year we’ll probably start it], Mr. Diokno told reporters after the inspection of the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) road-widening and southbound Marina flyover project.
He said the P50.03-billion railway is part of the government’s 75 flagship infrastructure projects. It will be funded through an official development assistance from the Chinese government.
Although the train system is originally intended for cargo to maximize the use of the Subic port, Mr. Diokno said it may eventually be used for passenger travel.
The Subic-Clark cargo train has been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) in January. In April, NEDA said it is one of the projects up for review by the Board.
In the “Build, Build, Build” website, which lists the details of the government’s infrastructure projects, it said the Subic-Clark railway is part of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Luzon System Development Framework. It is meant to form an “integrated logistics hub” in Central Luzon as it links the Subic Port to the Clark International Airport.
The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is in charge of the project. It also manages the Clark International Airport expansion, the New Clark City Mixed Use Industrial Real Estate developments, New Clark City-National Government administrative center, New Clark City-Food Processing Terminal and International Food Market and Broadband Backhaul Modular IT Facilities.
The Subic-Clark railway is scheduled for completion in October 2022. If successful, it seeks to reduce Metro Manila traffic by helping in the development of Region III as a “new growth center.”