Philippines, Japan sign loan to rehabilitate MRT-3
The Philippines and the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on Thursday signed a loan agreement granting the country 38.1 billion yen to rehabilitate the Metro Rail Transit ( MRT) Line-3.
Signing the agreement were Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, JICA Senior Vice President Yasushi Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda and Transport Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan.
The 43-month rehabilitation project will be handled by Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and full mobilization will begin in January 2019, according to Batan.
"The strategy is in line with the objective to fasten the restoration and if you would recall, they are the one who design, construct and the maintenance provider for the first 12 months," Batan told the The Daily Manila Shimbun.
"They are more familiar with it," he added.
In his speech, Dominguez said the rehabilitation project will cost 21.96 billion pesos or around $400 million. Of the total amount, P 18.76 billion will be covered by JICA and the remaining P 3.19 billion will be funded locally.
He said this is the "fastest loan" they have completed after the National Econimic and Development Authority approved the project last August 22.
The loan agreement has an interest of 0.10 percent per annum for non-consulting services and 0.01 percent interest per annum for consulting service with a maturity of 40 years inclusive of 12 year grace period.
"This is by every measure a very soft loan that will enable us to address a very pressing problem," he said.
In a separate speech, JICA Senior Vice President Tanaka said they are "very pleased" in contributing to the MRT Line-3 to once again become a safe and comfortable train by using Japanese advanced rehabilitation technologies.
"We hope that the rehabilitation will be complete as soon as possible and more users can take the MRT-3," he said.
The project includes rehabilitation and maintenance of the train's electro mechanical system, power supply, rail tracks, depot equipment, and overhaul of the rolling stock.
Batan said the transition process has been ongoing since October as they want to make sure that the transition will be "orderly and systematic".
Batan said 26 months will be for rehabilitation and the remaining will be used for the completion of 72 train cars.
Batan said they are not expecting to reduce the passenger capacity in the first 7-14 months but assured the public that after the 26 months, the MRT will be back to its "original condition".
He added there is also an ongoing discussion on the Dahlian trains.
"We are currently discussing to make sure all the consideration (will be) addressed," he said.
According to the transport department, about 350,000 commuters take the MRT everyday.
This is also one of the four railway projects funded by JICA under the Duterte administration's "Build, Build, Build". Ella Dionisio/DMS