DOTr to Revive PNR’s Bicol Express Through the P175-Billion Aid from China

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Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez revealed to the media that the Duterte administration will be using the P175-billion overseas development aid to be borrowed from China to revive the operation of the Philippine National Railway’s Bicol Express witht he reconstruction of a new railway system from Manila to Bicol.

Usec Chavez clarified that the Bicol Express project of the DOTr will no longer be a rehabilitation project, but it will be a reconstruction project. He stated everything will be new, including railways, new train wagons, new stations and new modalities.

According to the DOTr, China and the Philippines is set to sign the loan agreement of P175 billion payable in 20 years at 2 percent interest per annum this coming November 16 and 17 at the time of the 31st Asean Summit and Related Meetings in Manila.

Once completed under the administration of Pres. Rody Duterte, the said revival of Bicol Express would take six hours to reach Bicol from Manila with a design speed of 120 kph and operational speed of 80 kph.

With a timetable from 2018-2022, DOTr said the reconstruction of the new railway system would be undertaken through Chinese general consultancy services while the determination of the firms to undertake the actual construction was still under negotiations.

Usec Chavez also revealed that there would be nine new train stations from Paco in Manila to Matnog town in Sorsogon, stretching 683 km of newly constructed railways following international standards.

He enumerated the nine train stations to be constructed as Paco, FTI, Los Baños, Lucena City, Gumaca, Pili/Naga, Legazpi/Camalig, Sorsogon City and Matnog.

The third quarter of 2018 is the target period to complete 50 percent of the right-of-way aspect involving payment and relocation of settlers occupying spaces within the 15 meters trunk line from Manila to Matnog.

Source: PIA

Ed Umbao

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