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PH secures P4.25-B Japan loan to fund Bulacan road project

The Philippines has secured a 9.399-billion yen loan (PHP4.25 billion) from the Japanese government to fund the construction of the third phase of the arterial road project aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in Bulacan province and Metro Manila.

Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on behalf of the Philippines, and Susumu Ito, the chief representatives of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on behalf of Japan, signed Wednesday the loan agreement for the project.

The DOF said the Philippines would provide counterpart funding of around 1.476 billion yen (PHP1 billion) for the project costing 10.87 billion yen (or about PHP5.26 billion).

“We continue to support the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build Program through this project, and we’re confident that once constructed, this bypass road will help create new growth centers outside Metro Manila and enhance mobility of many Filipinos,” said Ito.

The Arterial Road Bypass Project (ARBP), also known as the Plaridel Bypass, is a 24.61-kilometer arterial road that will link the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Balagtas, Bulacan with the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway, also called Maharlika Highway, in San Rafael, Bulacan.

Phase 3 of the project involves upgrading and expanding the existing bypass road from two lanes to a four-lane carriageway national road.

Its first component was completed in November 2012, while the second phase is nearing completion and is expected to be inaugurated in May this year. Both phases were also financed by JICA.

For his part, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said “with continued Japanese support, we are once again expecting a fast and sure implementation of the third Phase of the ARBP.”

In 2017 alone, Pernia said the NEDA Board approved five major infrastructure projects, including the ARBP III, to be implemented with Japanese support.

He said other projects included three major railway projects and a flood management project.

“Several more projects will be processed this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, the DOF said the agreement for Phase 3 of the arterial road project provides for interest rates of 1.5 percent per annum for non-consulting services, and 0.01 percent per annum for consulting services with a repayment period of 20 years and a 10-year grace period.

Leslie Gatpolintan / PNA