PH, JICA ink MRT 3 rehab project loan deal

The Philippine government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have recently signed the JPY17.4-billion (US$130 million) Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 Rehabilitation Project (II) loan agreement.

The aaccord was signed by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin Diokno and JICA chief representative in the Philippines Sakamoto Takema at the DOF office in Manila.

The rehabilitation includes provisions for capacity expansion including rolling stocks, rail tracks, signaling system, power supply system, overhead catenary system, communications system, and depot and station equipment.

In a statement, the Finance department said the supplemental loan for the MRT 3 was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Board on February 2, 2023.

The loan will be used to finance the increase in the total project costs amounting to P29.6 billion, following the additional scope of work submitted by the Department of Transportation.

These include complete rehabilitation, integration and capacity expansion, operation and maintenance concession dovetailing with the expiry of the Build-Lease-Transfer agreement in 2025, and addition and extension of maintenance works to account for the six-month period of community quarantine due to the pandemic.

The loan carries an interest rate of 0.10% per annum for non-consulting services and 0.01% per annum for consulting services. It will be paid back in 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

As of March 2023, Japan is the Philippines’ top official development assistance (ODA) lender, with total ODA commitments at $10.4 billion, including loans and grants.

The DOF said loans amounting to JPY377 billion ($2.8 billion) were already signed with JICA in the first quarter of 2023. Among the projects funded are the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project Phases 1 and 2 and the NSCR Extension Project (II). (PNA)