Construction company DM Consunji, Inc. is in talks with potential Japanese partners for the first phase of the multi-billion-peso North-South Commuter Railway project from Tutuban, Manila to Malolos City, Bulacan.
The NSCR project will be partially funded by Japan’s official development assistance loan amounting to 241.991 billion yen signed in November 2015.
“I think the Japanese part of the ‘Build, Build Build’ is very serious and that will change the geography of Manila….I think the Japanese are serious because they came out with the bid documents and then I think the bidding is scheduled sometime September,” DM Consunji chairman Isidro Consunji said over the weekend.
Consunji is set to go back to Tokyo this week to convince the project developers that DM Consunji has the capability to build a project of this magnitude.
He said the company wanted to become a part of the consortium and contractor of the NSCR project that is seen to decongest traffic in Metro Manila.
“I think the Japanese government is all out to help the Philippines. That’s my personal read. If the commuter line happens, the capacity is 100,000 passengers per hour. That will be a big change in Metro Manila. We should aim for the project to happen,” the executive said.
The first phase of the elevated railway is expected to reduce travel time from Malolos to Tutuban to 35 minutes from 2 hours and allow economic activities to spread out to the surrounding areas of Metro Manila.
The project will also use advanced Japanese technologies including seismic designs from Japan to make the infrastructure disaster-resilient.
“The project needs a local counterpart. The big issue is never a project this big was built so fast. So one of the issues is, can the Filipino companies handle project this big…I believe the Filipino can,” Consunji said.
He said the project, targeted to be completed by 2022, would be “the biggest game changer” and “centerpiece” of the Duterte administration.
“This is 24 kilometers to be built in three years…It’s the most important thing that this administration will have to do. It’s double line and international gauge, electric, not diesel and high speed,” he said.
He said the project had no right of way issue as the Philippine National Railway already cleared this up.
“There is no right of way issue so there is a big change it [project] can happen,” he said.
Consunji said 85 percent of the funding for the project was expected to come from ODA while the remaining 15 percent would be local counterpart funding.
“The local job, Tutuban to Malolos is about P50 billion [for cilvil works] to be completed in three years. It will be easy to do but the volume is so big, so fast in so short a time,” he said.
DM Consunji was a contractor in the Light Rail Transit project.