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PBBM assures better transport to spur growth

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday vowed to modernize and improve the country’s transportation system, saying an efficient transportation system will have a multiplier effect on employment and on the economy.

RAILWAY DEAL. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. beams during the contract signing ceremony of the North-South Railway System in Malacanang with (from left) Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, Speaker Martin Romualdez, Embassy of Japan Minister for Economic Affairs Nikei Daisuke, and Sakamoto Takema, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Revoli Cortez

This was after Mr. Marcos witnessed the signing of the contract for the electromechanical systems and track works for the North-South Commuter Railway project (CP-NS01).

“I assure the Filipino people that the government will strive to modernize and improve the country’s transportation system. This will be one of the cornerstones of our progress as we move full speed ahead into a brighter tomorrow,” the President said.

“It will strengthen what we have seen our weaknesses in the supply chain, that have been brought about by the pandemic economy, that have been brought about by the crisis in Ukraine, and that we now must attend to if we are going to be able to say that we will grow the economy,” he added.

The Department of Transportation said it signed a P110.4-billion contract with Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan for the electrical and mechanical systems and track works of the North-South Railway Project, which is expected to start operations in three years.

Contract Package NS-01, which was awarded to Mitsubishi, covers track works, signaling system,s and telecommunications for the mainline and depots. Also included are the power supply at the substations, power distribution system, and overhead contact line system.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said during the contract signing the section of the project from Malolos, Bulacan to Clark, Pampanga would be operable by 2026.

Mr. Marcos described the project as a “landmark initiative” that will make the Philippines more connected than ever as “these endeavors will mark a new era of prosperity for the Philippines at a time when we are navigating ourselves in what has become called the New Normal.”

The President thanked the Department of Transportation for the milestone project that will significantly reduce the travel time between Clark International Airport and Calamba City, Laguna upon its completion.

“Indeed, this service that you have shown in materializing our grand vision [of] a Philippines [that] is ready to take on the future, is a very important part of the transformation of our economy,” Mr. Marcos said.

He also thanked the Japanese government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for their financial support in the implementation of CP NS-01 and for being active partners in the country’s infrastructure development.

“We expect partial operations of the Malolos to Clark Airport section by the third quarter of 2026,” Bautista said, adding that “[in] three years more, we should see full operations of the whole NSCR.”

The project is expected to bring ease of mobility and connectivity within the regions of the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

It would also generate 110,000 direct and indirect employment during construction, Bautista said.

“I would like to thank the government of Japan, through their embassy here in Manila, the JICA, and ADB for co-financing this contract package of the NSCR,” he said, noting they bankrolled the largest infrastructure financing in Asia and the Pacific.

The whole 147-km NSCR Project will have 35 stations, with 51 commuter train sets and seven express train sets operating along the rail line.

Once operational, the NSCR is expected to service as many as 800,000 passengers daily and cut travel time from Clark Airport to Calamba, Laguna in less than two hours.

It is among the major infrastructure projects under development. The government and private contractors started last month the construction of two underground stations and tunnels in Quezon City for the P488.5-billion Metro Manila Subway Project.

Dubbed the “Crown Jewel” of the country’s mass transit system, the Metro Manila Subway will cut across eight cities that will stretch from Valenzuela City to FTI-Bicutan in Parañaque City, with a spur line to Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City.


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