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High-speed Manila-Clark railway remains on track thanks to Japanese

On track: A new funding boost has been confirmed by Japan

Japan has agreed to finance three massive rail projects worth $8.8 billion — including a high speed railway connecting Manila and Clark.

Funding for the flagship project has already been offered by the Chinese government, as we reported here last June. Later, about $10 billion was confirmed after President Duterte’s visit to Beijing in October.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia confirmed that during a meeting with aid agency Japan International Cooperation Agency this week, Philippine economic managers pitched a total of 14 projects, including the three flagship rail schemes.

Mr Pernia said the three priority projects were a $4.3-billion initial phase of the Mega Metro Manila subway system connecting Taguig City to Quezon City; a $2.7-billion commuter line extending to Los Baños, Laguna, and the $1.9-billion high-speed rail connecting Clark and Manila.

This new service is expected to cut travel time to Clark International Airport to just one hour.

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He also said that most of the projects to be funded by Japan aimed to disperse development away from congested Metro Manila.

The 11 other projects include a number of irrigation and flood control projects outside the capital region.

The funding for the subway project will be signed over when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the Asean Summit hosted by the Philippines in November.

In a statement yesterday, the Department of Finance said: “The priority list covers projects in railway, irrigation and public works projects covering road and flood management.

“Additional projects in the areas of public works, energy and industrial zone development were also submitted as candidates for Japanese financing.”

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