DoTr: Japanese funded-projects on track

THE Department of Transportation (DoTR) on Friday said it was on track to completing railway projects funded by the government of Japan.

The DoTr’s Railways Sector assured visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has long supported the Philippines’ ambitious rail expansion initiative, that rail project development remained set for completion.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista praised Kishida, who was said to hail from a country “with 150 years of experience in rail development, with 30,000 kilometers of rail, with 25 billion riders a year.”

“There are no better ‘senseis’ than these kind, compassionate, generous, hardworking and honest people,” Bautista added, calling Kishida a “tireless cheerleader for Philippine progress.”

“The Philippine railways sector has been a recipient of billions of pesos in Japanese aid. PM Kishida, long before he was prime minister, has been instrumental in funneling Japanese assistance to the country’s ambitious rail expansion,” he continued.

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Bautista said that when Kishida was still Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister in 2017, “he was already a backer of our country’s drive to modernize our transportation system.”

“To us, Prime Minister Kishida has always been a member of the Philippine railways team. He’s all aboard,” the Transportation chief said.

Some nine Philippine big-ticket transport projects — two aviation, two maritime, five railways — are being built or will be delivered on the back of P1.315-trillion worth of Japanese financial backing.

The five railway projects were identified as the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension, LRT Line 2 East Extension, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation and Maintenance, North-South Commuter Rail System, and Metro Manila Subway Project.

Kishida is set to visit the subway project depot and its train simulator room located in Valenzuela today (November 4, 2023, Saturday).

Civil works are ongoing for the 36-kilometer Metro Manila Subway Project. With 17 stations, the project is set to reduce travel time between Valenzuela City and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 35 minutes.

The Japanese leader, Bautista said, “would be happy to know that the Philippine side has lived up to its commitments, that despite challenges, we are on track to what we have committed to deliver.”

Mike Ibanoz

Mike Ibanoz is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who has spent the better part of two decades covering gadgets and apps, and helping people make smarter tech decisions.

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