PH, China ink $940-million Subic-Clark railway contract

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2021 04:26 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2021 10:05 PM

The railway would be situated in South and Central Luzon, connecting Subic Bay Freeport Zone and Clark International Airport. Photo from the Chinese Embassy in Manila. 

MANILA — The Philippines and China on Saturday signed the Subic-Clark railway project’s commercial contract worth $940 million, considered one of the “highest-funded” deals between the two nations, according to China’s envoy to the country. 

In a statement, Ambassador Huang Xilian estimated that the construction of the 71-kilometer, single-track railway would take 3 and a half years.

“This is so far the highest-funded G2G (government to government) project between the two countries valued at [approximately] $940 million and is the flagship project under the administration's ‘Build, Build, Build’ program,” the statement read. 

The railway, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said, would specifically connect Subic Bay Freeport Zone and Clark International Airport. 

The Subic-Clark railway will also link the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) North Railway Project. 

Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade in 2018 said that the contractors China usually nominates for the projects it would fund were already involved in Chinese projects.

"May proseso ho iyan kapag Chinese funded. Ang gusto nila mga involve sa proyekto na mga Chinese," Tugade had told reporters. 

(There is a process if it is Chinese funded. They usually want the help of those already involved in Chinese projects.)

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The DOTr has been facilitating the construction of at least 3 China-funded railway projects under the Build, Build, Build — the PNR South Railway project, the Subic-Clark Railway project, and the Mindanao Railway project.

By 2022, the total project debt to China will be around 4.5 percent of the country’s total debt, while Japan's share will be “double” that amount, Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino earlier said.

— With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News