PH withdraws China loan application for Subic-Clark railway project

PH withdraws China loan application for Subic-Clark railway project
Image from Facebook page of Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.
  • The Philippines officially withdraws China loan application for the Subic-Clark railway project
  • The Department of Finance notified China Eximbank of the decision, citing the bank’s failure to meet a crucial document submission deadline
  • Asian Development Bank eyed as potential funder for the 71-kilometer railway project

The Philippines has officially pulled out of loan negotiations with China for the P51-billion Subic-Clark railway project, Transportation undersecretary for railways Cesar Chavez said on Friday.

The decision, relayed to the Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) by the Department of Finance in a November 8 letter, was prompted by China Eximbank’s failure to meet government’s October 31 deadline for submission of essential documents, Chavez told media during a forum at Camp Aguinaldo.

The formal notification conveyed the Philippine government’s decision to no longer pursue the previously considered $798.5-million loan.

DOTr has already initiated talks with the Asian Development Bank for alternative funding.

RELATED READ: PH seeks alternative funding for transport projects as Chinese interest wanes

The 71-kilometer Subic-Clark railway project plays a pivotal role in the Department of Transportation’s plan to establish a logistics hub in Central Luzon connecting the Port of Subic in Zambales to the Clark metropolis, home to Clark International Airport.

Earlier, government also withdrew the loan application for the P83-billion Mindanao railway project.

DOF wrote Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, saying the Philippines was “no longer inclined to pursue the Chinese ODA financing for the Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1 Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment.” The letter is silent on the reason for withdrawal of the loan application.

“Moving forward, we wish to inform you that the [Philippine government] remains open to holding project-related discussions and technical-level exchanges on any other pipeline projects under Chinese financing,” the letter said.

RELATED READ: China, PH ink $940M contract for Subic-Clark freight railway