China loan for Subic-Clark rail may not be ready by Xi visit

Posted 3 years ago


THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said a commercial agreement with China for the Subic-Clark Railway may not be ready for signing when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits next month.

The DoTr said it has yet to receive a shortlist of turnkey contractors to which the Philippines will issue its request for proposals.

“As soon as we receive it, everything will be ready, including bid documents, and the joint bids and awards committee with the BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority) has been organized,” DoTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan said in a briefing on Wednesday.

He said the target is to have the agreement signed within the year or early next year with construction starting immediately after.

Mr. Batan noted that Mr. Xi is expected to sign in November the loan agreement for the Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long-Haul Project, which will extend the train line to Bicol.

The loan scheduled for signing in November will fund the hiring of the PNR South Long Haul project management consultant, the services of which were initially procured this month, he added.

Mr. Batan told reporters after the briefing that the project management consultancy for PNR Bicol is worth P14 billion, with other components of the project expected to be finalized and awarded by the first quarter of 2019

He said the consultancy loan currently represents “roughly 70% to 80% of the contract price.”

On the Subic-Clark Railway project, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said the Philippines needs to wait for the pool of nominees from the Chinese government, because it is a China-funded project.

“When a project is Chinese-funded, those who want to be involved must come from a list of nominees for accreditation from the Chinese government. We’re now at the stage where we are waiting for the nominated consultants for the feasibility study. When they finish the list of three nominees, we will do a bidding. The winner will do the feasibility study and come up with the data and details for the engagement,” he said.

Mr. Tugade also said he believes time is still sufficient to meet the 2021 timetable for completing the Subic-Clark Railway.

The Subic-Clark Railway Project is a P50.03-billion, 71.13-kilometer project approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board in April. The PNR South Long Haul is a P151-billion, 581-kilometer railway that is expected to be partially open in 2022.

Both projects were presented for China loan financing when senior government officials visited that country in August. — Denise A. Valdez



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