Finance Secretary of the Philippines Cesar Purisima together with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative of Japan Noriaki Niwa signed the US$ 2 Billion Loan Agreement for the North-South Commuter Railway Project (Malolos-Tutuban) of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on November 27, 2015 at the Mezzanine Floor Lobby of the Robinsons (JG) Summit Center, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
Also attending the signing were DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, Department of Finance National Treasurer Roberto Tan, JICA Senior Representative Tetsuya Yamada, and JICA Section Chief Keisuke Fukui.
The project supports the expansion of a mass transportation network which is recognized as one of the priorities in the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan aiming to improve the efficiency of land transportation capacities in Metro Manila. It also seeks to provide a more environmentally sustainable mode of transport through the construction of about 37 km new elevated commuter railway from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila, procurement of rolling stock, and installation of electro-mechanical systems.
The project represents the Phase 1 of the North-South Railway Project of DOTC. The Phase 2 involves the construction and rehabilitation of approximately 653 km commuter railway operations from Tutuban to Calamba and long haul rail operations on the branch line from Calamba and Batangas and extension from Legaspi. Albay to Matnog, Sorsogon, and is being proposed to be implemented via Public-Private Partnership arrangement.
The project also includes procurement of 104 cars and installation of electro-mechanical systems. The railway will boast of aseismatic design technology used for earthquake-resilient structures, earthquake detection systems, corrosion-resistant steel, as well as signalling and communications systems for punctual and reliable operations.