Home » Breaking News, Events » PH pushes new railway project

The proposed Luzon Integrated Railway system covers 700 kilometers from San Fernando, La Union to Legazpi Albay, home to the Mayon Volcano (above).

The Philippine Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is proposing a Luzon Integrated Railway system in lieu of the controversial Northrail project.

“Sadly, the Northrail is temporarily put on the back burner until its reconfiguration is completed. But the good news is we are replacing it with an even longer one,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in his keynote address at last week’s Philippine Maritime Law Annual Conference, as read by assistant secretary for procurement Catherine Jennifer Gonzales.

The conference was jointly organized by the Maritime Law Association of the Philippines and PortCalls.

“The proposed Integrated Luzon Railway will cover 700 km of railways from San Fernando, La Union in the North to Legazpi, Albay in the South,” Abaya said.

“It will not only connect Pampanga to Metro Manila, and NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) to DMIA (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport), but it will connect Batangas, NAIA, DMIA all the way to Subic. It will sustain the growth of the Subic-Clark-Manila-Batangas economic corridor,” he added.

The project requires extension and rehabilitation of the existing Philippine National Railway line. It is supported by a 2011 study on Greater Capital Region Airport Strategy funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which stresses the need for an airport express to link Metro Manila and Clark.

DMIA (now renamed Clark International Airport) has been identified as the best alternative airport to congested NAIA.

The project if completed will cut travel time from Manila to Clark to 45 minutes from the current two hours and Clark to Subic to 20 minutes from 40 minutes.

The bidding invitation for the project’s feasibility study’s consultancy services worth P92 million is now being prepared.

Government earlier renegotiated settlement for the Northrail project worth 184 million due this year. It has agreed to pay Export-Import Bank of China, the project’s main funder, four equal payments of $46 million that began last September.

But several groups are asking the Senate to conduct an inquiry into the renegotiated

contract, claiming it is disadvantageous to the Philippines.

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