THE GOVERNMENT did not mothball the Mindanao Railway Project, one of the three big-ticket railway projects in limbo after the country dropped China as a funding source.
Secretary Jaimee Bautista of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) told reporters that they are eyeing official development assistance (ODA) or public-private partnership (PPP) to bankroll the project.
However, the ODA will not cover the right-of-way expenses and instead should be covered by the national government.
Bautista said they are presently coordinating with the National Development Authority (NEDA) to determine the new cost. Each project cost has to be updated after the delay of the implementation, which will be affected by the rising cost of materials and labor.
“For us to be able to continue these projects, we have to get the approval of NEDA to update the increase of cost,” Bautista said in an interview posted on Manila Bulletin.
The three projects were the Mindanao Railway Project, the South Long Haul or the Philippine National Railway-Bicol, and the Subic-Clark Railway in Luzon.
These projects are under the Build Build Build! program by former President Rodrigo Duterte but never materialized because he finished his term.
The transport chief said they are looking into the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as potential funding sources.
JICA Philippines chief representative Sakatomo Takema earlier expressed that they are open to discussing Mindanao Railway construction.
Takema said during the press con after the signing ceremony of the Philippine-Japan Technical Cooperation Project on Nov. 10 that their doors are open as long as the Philippine government strongly signifies its intention to seek their help.
However, he mentioned they are currently not prepared at the moment as they are also funding the construction of the Metro Manila subway project, North-South Commuter Railway, LRT 1 Cavite Extension, LRT-2 East Extension, and rehabilitation of MRT-3.
Bautista said the Japanese government invested about 1.5 trillion worth of infrastructure projects in ODA to fund transport infrastructure constructions.
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