by Azer Parrocha
MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to fast track the completion of the 53-kilometer Malolos-Clark Railway Project (MCRP).
Duterte made this call after witnessing in Malacanang the signing between Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Ahmed Saeed of the USD1.3-billion (PHP66.6 billion) loan agreement for the country’s first airport express railway service.
The project will be co-financed by the ADB and the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“I am directing the Department of Transportation to fast track the completion of the MCRP and observe the highest quality standards as we complete this railway project,” Duterte said in his speech.
“By the time it is completed, I expect that our people, especially those from Central Luzon, will greatly feel the impact of our Build, Build, Build Program,” he added.
The MCRP is a North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) system designed to connect New Clark City and Clark International Airport (CIA) with Manila and Calamba by 2025.
It will primarily finance the 51.2 km Malolos-Clark-CIA section and will also finance the 1.9 km Solis-Blumentritt section in Manila.
The MCRP is expected to provide affordable, reliable, and safe public transport, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and cut travel time from Manila to CIA to less than one hour from the current travel time of two to three hours by car or bus.
On January 21, 2019, the government, through the DOF, signed the JPY167.199 billion loan agreement with the government of Japan, through JICA, for the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Extension Project which consists of the Malolos-Clark Railway Project in the North and the North-South Railway Project-South Commuter Line (Solis-Calamba) in the South. (PNA)