“Our work in the Philippines has always held a special place in the history of ADB. Now, under President Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program, ADB is considerably scaling up its own support to the government,” Mr. Saeed said. “The Malolos–Clark Railway Project is ADB’s single largest infrastructure project financing ever at USD2.75 billion. We are pleased to be supporting this important flagship project in our host country.”

ADB Vice-President Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed (right) with Philippine President Mr. Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Philippine Finance Secretary Mr. Carlos Dominguez III (center) at the signing of the loan for the Malolos–Clark Railway Project. (Source: ADB)

The Malolos–Clark railway is part of the Philippine government’s North–South Commuter Railway project, which aims to link New Clark City to Calamba by 2025. The project will use cutting-edge technology to build an elevated railway line, with a maximum train speed of 160 kilometers per hour, to help ease chronic road congestion in and around Metro Manila, reduce air pollution, cut the costs of transport and logistics, and encourage economic growth and a population shift outside the capital.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is cofinancing the project with an additional financing of up to USD2 billion for the rolling stock and the railway systems.

The Malolos–Clark project is a result of close collaboration between ADB, JICA, and the Department of Transportation. During project preparation, a joint technical team from the department and the two institutions conducted regular “Build, Build, Build” meetings, with reporting to Transportation Secretary Mr. Arthur Tugade. ADB’s safeguard and resettlement policies were adopted and are being implemented for the project.

Civil works contracts under the project are being bidded out, with the first contract awards expected in the fourth quarter of this year.

Other ADB projects under preparation for this year include the EDSA Greenways Project, which will construct elevated walkways along busy intersections in Metro Manila, and additional financing for the metropolis’ main water supply system under the Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project. Also under preparation is additional financing for the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility, which will help prepare feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs of other flagship projects of the government.

ADB assistance to the Philippines is expected to hit a record USD2.5 billion for 2019, more than double its average annual financing of USD1 billion in the last three years.

ADB’s future proposed projects include financing for the Blumentritt–Calamba section of the North–South Commuter Railway project in 2020, as well as the railway extension to New Clark City in 2022, with cofinancing from JICA.

Khac Kien