China vows to finish PNR South project before 2022

China has promised to finish the Philippine National Railway (PNR)’s south railway rehabilitation and restoration project before President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends in 2022, Malacanang said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the assurance was made by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during their meeting two weeks ago.

“I’ve talked to the ambassador of China and he told me that the term (of President Rodrigo Duterte) will not be finished without the revival of the south railway,” Roque said in a press conference in Camarines Sur.

Roque said the construction of the PNR’s South Line Manila to Legazpi City in Bicol has been awarded to China.

“So be patient the south railway will be finished and even the President had said he will not leave without fulfilling this promise,” Roque said.

The revival of the PNR’s south railway stretching from Paco, Manila to Matnog, Sorsogon will be funded by a loan from China reportedly worth PHP175 billion payable in 20 years at two percent interest per annum.

The South Line is one of the flagship projects under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

The 683-kilometer South Line will have nine train stations in Paco, FTI, Los Banos, Lucena City, Gumaca, Pili/Naga, Legazpi/Camalig, Sorsogon City and Matnog.

Meanwhile, Roque welcomed the signing of a loan agreement with Japan worth PHP51.3 billion for the construction of the initial phase of flagship subway system project.

“We are moving a step closer to having our first subway system that would help alleviate traffic congestion in Metro Manila,” Roque said.

He said the construction of the 36-kilometer subway will begin next year and is expected to be completed by 2025.

“The subway will begin partial operations by 2020. Once completed, the subway will have 16 stations and will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City up to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” Roque said. PNA