PH signs largest ADB loan for Malolos-Clark Railway Project

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The ADB, in order to help finance the 53 kilometer Malolos-Clark Railway Project, pledged to loan the Philippines a total of $2.75 billion.

"This will be the ADB’s single largest infrastructure project financing ever at $2.75 billion. We are pleased to be supporting this important flagship project in our host country," said ADB Vice President Ahmed Saeed in a speech in Malacanang Thursday.

Saeed and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez signed the first tranche of the loan, at $1.3 billion (approximately ₱67 billion) on Thursday in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte and several other government officials.

"This project will more than pay for itself and bring convenience to hundreds of thousands of commuters a day in what will be an extremely busy Manila to Clark corridor in the coming years," Dominguez said.

He added that the Philippines is working closely with the ADB and the Japanese aid-giving Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the Malolos-Clark Railway Project.

The ADB is cofinancing the civil works aspect of the project, while JICA is cofinancing the core system of the project by an additional $2 billion.

The project is slated for partial operability before President Rodrigo Duterte's term ends in 2022, and is expected to reduce travel time from Malolos to Clark to 35-45 minutes.

With the Duterte administration ramping up its infrastructure spending, the ADB is also ramping up its loan assistance.

"ADB has scaled up its support to the Philippines in response to the government's own reform agenda. From this year to 2022, we expect our annual lending to reach a record $2.5 billion, more than double the amount in 2018," Saeed said.