MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte yesterday thanked Japan for supporting the Philippines’ development projects, saying Tokyo treats Manila as one of its own provinces.
In remarks during the lowering of the Metro Manila Subway Project tunnel boring machine in Valenzuela City, Duterte said that several projects in the Philippines are sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which provides various forms of assistance. to developing countries.
“I cannot understand the Japanese people’s love for this republic. There are so many projects going on in the country and pushed and sponsored by JICA,” he said.
“The past is the past. But so far, Japan has continued to help… It really seems that we are part of the Japanese government. It’s like we are a province (of Japan). We are… you know, treated like almost a part of Japan that should be developed in due time,” he added.
The Japanese government had also funded projects in Davao when it was still mayor of the southern city, according to the outgoing chief executive.
He noted that the loan interest for the subway project is so low, describing it as a “gift from the Japanese people to the Filipino people”.
“I would like to express my gratitude again whenever I meet JICA people and projects all over the Philippines, where I am invited to attend its inauguration or operation, etc. “said the president.
“It’s a Japanese way of really saying ‘we want to help you.’ And it’s still there,” he added.
The Metro Manila Metro Project is the first underground rail system in the Philippines and one of the key projects of the ambitious ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program. Construction of the first phase of the project is underway and will cover 13 metro stations crossing six cities in Metro Manila – Valenzuela, Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Taguig and parts of Parañaque.
The first tranche of the loan agreement for the project was signed in 2018. The $935 million loan bears an interest rate of 0.1% per annum for non-consulting services and 0.01 % per annum for consultancy services, payable in 40 years. with a grace period of 12 years.
A set of additional loans worth 116 billion pesos were signed in 2021. The loan bears an interest rate of 0.10% per annum and is repayable in 40 years with a grace period of 13 years.
During the event, Duterte watched the lowering of the tunnel boring machine’s cutterhead from the viewing deck.
He also witnessed the operation of the Philippine National Railway train en route to the Philippine Railway Institute Training Center for an inspection of the train simulator, simulated train and pantograph.
The president also tried out the train simulator to be used for training subway operators.
“This will really help commuters, especially those from Quezon City who travel to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, to enjoy the convenience and comfort of a fast, efficient and modern transportation system,” he said. he declares.
“It will also save travelers a lot of time and energy, giving them the opportunity to become more productive and focus more on other worthwhile projects. May I once again express my gratitude to the Japanese government for its partnership with the Philippines to make this dream a reality,” he added.
The 33 kilometer railway project is expected to reduce travel time between Quezon City and NAIA from one hour and 10 minutes to just 35 minutes.
It is expected to handle 370,000 passengers daily in its first full year of operation.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who accompanied Duterte to Valenzuela, said Metro Manila’s subway is expected to be partially operational by 2025, while full operations are expected by 2027 at the latest. –Richmond Mercury