PHL seeks funding options for railway projects


THE PHILIPPINES is looking at funding alternatives such as multilateral lending institutions after it shelved a plan to seek loans from China to fund two railway projects, the Transportation chief said on Thursday.

“Our other options are, we can still go to other ODAs (official development assistance). There’s JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), ADB (Asia Development Bank), and World Bank,” Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista told reporters on Thursday.

“There are other governments that are helping us. There’s a possibility of them to support the financing of these projects,” he added on the sidelines of a forum facilitated by the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In a letter sent by the Finance department, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said that the Philippines is withdrawing its request for ODA from China for the first phase of the Mindanao Railway project.

“Since there’s not much movement on the financing we requested the Department of Finance to help us look for other funding sources,” he said.

“The Department of Finance already sent a letter to China, informing them that we will not pursue the loan anymore,” Mr. Bautista said.

He said that for now, the Philippines will not be seeking any more Chinese funding for its two other railways projects such as Bicol’s south long-haul and Subic Clark railway projects.

Last year, the Department of Transportation said the Philippine government would resubmit its loan applications to China for major railway projects consisting of the first phase of the Mindanao railway project or the P83-billion Tagum-Davao-Digos segment, the long-haul south Philippine National Railways, and the Subic-Clark railway project. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

Neil Banzuelo

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