Japan to lend Philippines $570-M for rail, airport

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 26 2013 05:41 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2013 01:41 AM

MANILA - The Philippines said Tuesday it would borrow more than $570 million from Japan to fund an expansion of the capital's light rail system and a new airport for one of the nation's top tourist attractions.

More than three-quarters of the package will be for the Manila Light Rail Transit system's expansion to two neighbouring provinces, the foreign department and the Japanese embassy said in separate statements.

The transport department is expected to tender shortly for the 81.3-billion-peso ($1.98-billion) project, which will provide urgently needed alternatives for people commuting between Manila and nearby areas.

"This project... (will be) contributing to the mitigation of road congestion in Metro Manila," a Japanese embassy statement said.

The light rail expansions, covering 15.7 kilometres (9.7 miles), are due to be completed by 2015.

The loan will also provide part of the financing of a $190.5-million airport planned on Panglao island adjacent to Bohol island.

This will replace a small airport now in operation on Bohol, which has seen massive growth in tourist traffic in recent years, the embassy statement said.

Japanese ambassador to Manila Toshinao Urabe signed and exchanged notes on the projects on Monday, the two governments said.

Neither side disclosed details about the terms of the loan, worth 54.03 billion yen ($573 million), nor when the money would be distributed.

Japan has accounted for about a third of all official development assistance to the Philippines in recent years, according to the embassy.

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