The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced it has approved a $2.75 billion (P143.6 billion) loan to finance two segments of the Philippine government’s North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR)—the ADB’s largest infrastructure project in the country to date.
So where is all that money going, exactly? Well, PNR Clark Phase 2 is a 53km rail line that will connect Malolos, Bulacan to Clark, Pampanga, and PNR Calamba is a 56km railway that will connect Manila to Calamba, Laguna.
The deal will finance civil works for both lines, including stations, bridges, viaducts for elevated segments, and a tunnel heading into Clark International Airport—the first airport express railway service in the country.
PNR Clark Phase 2 will have six stations: Calumpit, Apalit, San Fernando, Angeles, Clark, and Clark Airport. The Malolos-Clark portion is scheduled to be in partial operation by 2022, and is expected to serve 350,000 passengers daily in its opening year. Once at full capacity, it can serve up to one million passengers per day, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) says.
Once completed, this is expected to drastically improve travel heading North from Manila and vice-versa. Travel time from Makati City to Clark, Pampanga is expected to be cut to just 55 minutes.
“The milestone we have reached today is a huge help for us to roll up our sleeves and start the actual construction at the soonest possible time,” DOTr head Arthur Tugade says.
“ADB is and will always be a strong partner in the development projects of the government that aim to give a comfortable life to Filipinos. We are grateful that the ADB shares our vision of enhancing mobility and connectivity in the country,” Tugade added.