January 5, 2018
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and local government officials from Marilao and Bocaue in Bulacan, led the ceremony declaring the start of advance site clearing works which will expedite succeeding construction works for the Philippines' new railway network North South Commuter Railway project (NSCR) supported by the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
"We will continue supporting the Philippine government's efforts to ensure that the future generation reaps the benefit of an integrated, seamless, and resilient transport infrastructure system through the NSCR project, " said JICA Chief Representative Susumu Ito.
The commencement of works includes clearing the site, grading of unleveled surfaces and demolition of obstructing structures of the NSCR, a 37.6-kilometer railway. Along with the Metro Manila Subway Project, NSCR is part of the mass transit backbone forming the North-South Corridor advocated in the Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development Study for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas, a study under the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) assisted by JICA in 2014.
The ceremony came after the DOTr marked the railway's stations middle of last year at Marilao and Meycauayan in Bulacan, and Valenzuela, Caloocan and Tutuban in Metro Manila, and after the DOTr awarded the contract of the construction supervision consulting services for the project to NS Tren, a consortium led by Oriental Consultants Global in December 2017. The DOTr has also partnered with local government units (LGUs) to address right of way acquisitions so the construction can begin on time.
JICA has also recently handed the detailed engineering design of the project to DOTr, signaling the project's transition from planning to actual construction. These achievements will expedite the succeeding construction works of the contractors to be employed utilizing the JICA loan.
JICA reiterated that the project is a ‘game changer in Philippine transport infrastructure by helping kick start the administration's large-scale investments in modern railways.'
The new railway will also use Japanese seismic designs to ensure commuter safety low emission electric trains for sustainability.
The 3-billion dollar project aims for completion within the current administration and is expected to reduce travel time from two hours via traditional transportation to 35 minutes from Malolos in Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila.
"The ceremony will allow people to see actual clearing of the site and witness the project is entering to the implementation stage," added Ito. "In the future, we are confident that this project once completed will help improve mobility and connectivity of emerging growth centers near Metro Manila while also creating jobs and attracting investments in other areas."
Since the 1960s, JICA has been supporting Philippine transport infrastructure system through hundreds of roads and bridges to encourage investments and sustain economic growth.