Construction of ADB-Financed Malolos–Clark Railway Project to Start Soon

The Philippines’ Department of Transportation on Saturday signed two civil works contracts worth nearly Php38 billion ($728 million) for the flagship Malolos–Clark Railway Project, which is financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The railway project will construct a safe, affordable, reliable, and environment-friendly railway connecting the northern provinces and the capital, Metro Manila. The contract signing will jumpstart the construction phase of the project, create much-needed jobs, and boost local economic activity.

“This project means a lot to the Republic of the Philippines, to our countrymen, in terms of making their lives comfortable,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. “I want to send a message to the Filipino people that we have never stopped working, we have kept the ball rolling to deliver the much-needed transport infrastructure projects of the country. This is our own way of saying ‘Build, Build, Build continues’.”

“Today’s signing of the two civil works contracts for the Malolos–Clark Railway Project is a milestone for the Philippine government’s landmark Build, Build, Build infrastructure development program,” said ADB Director General for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam. “ADB remains strongly committed to working with the government, development partners, and the private sector to deliver infrastructure for all Filipinos. The Malolos–Clark Railway is expected to be completed by 2024. When the entire North–South Commuter Railway system is operational, we expect up to one million passengers will ride the train daily on this modern, safe, and efficient system by 2040.”

The Malolos–Clark Railway Project, part of the 163-kilometer (km) North–South Commuter Railway Project, will ease road congestion in the capital and nearby provinces and reduce annual traffic-related economic costs, which total $18 billion in Metro Manila alone. It will help push economic activity to regional growth centers like Clark in Pampanga province.

The project will cut the travel time between Clark and Manila from two to three hours by bus to one hour by train, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60,000 tons annually.

The civil works contracts will help the Philippines’ economic revival. The project will create about 24,000 local construction jobs in the next three years and 14,000 more jobs related to the railway system’s operation. It will lead to larger, indirect employment and economic benefits to local businesses, such as suppliers of raw materials, which in turn will create more jobs.

One contract, which was awarded to the joint venture of Spain’s Acciona Construction Philippines, Inc. and EEI Corporation, will build about 6.3 km of main railway lines and 1.6 km of depot access line, including an underground railway station at Clark International Airport.

The other contract, which was awarded to South Korea’s POSCO Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., will erect a 33-hectare depot and a railway operations control center in Mabalacat, Pampanga. Three more contracts for civil works are set to be awarded later this year.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is cofinancing the project, will provide up to $2 billion in additional funding for the rolling stock and railway systems.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.