P52.1-B deals keep Laguna-Pampanga rail project on track
The 147-kilometer railway system that will link Pampanga and Laguna provinces—the longest in the country—came closer to reality with the signing by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) of three contract packages (CPs) worth a combined P52.1 billion.
“Once completed, this railway will transform lives and communities,” Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said.
The North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) System, which is expected to serve over a million passengers daily, will have 35 stations across 28 local government units from Pampanga to Laguna.
When it is done, travel time from Clark International Airport in Pampanga to Calamba, Laguna, will be cut in half to less than two hours from the current four hours.
The ceremonial signing of the three civil works contracts covering the construction of six stations of the NSCR was held in Malacañang and witnessed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“Now, as we hold the signing of Contract Packages (CP) S-01, S-03a and S-03c, we continue to show the commitment to realizing the dream of a more efficient and inclusive public transportation system that every Filipino deserves,” Mr. Marcos said.
He noted that the three contracts, covering 14.9 kilometers of at-grade and railway viaduct structures, will help achieve the government’s goal of serving around 800,000 commuters daily within the next six years.
“I am also happy to note that we are anticipating the generation of approximately 3,000 jobs once civil works for these sections begin,” Mr. Marcos added.
The $873.6-billion NSCR project is cofinanced by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Asian Development Bank.
According to a project brief from the Presidential Communications Office, the P11.6-billion CP S-01 covers a 1.2-km railway viaduct in Manila and a four-story Blumentritt Station that will be connected to its namesake LRT 1 station.
CP S-03a, worth P22.1 billion, covers a 7.9-km at-grade and viaduct railway structure, including the elevated Buendia station in Barangay Pio del Pilar, Makati City, and the at-grade Edsa and Senate stations, located in Barangay Magallanes, Makati and Barangay North Daang Hari, Taguig City, respectively. The Senate station will be near the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) station.
The P18.4-billion CP S-03c, meanwhile, consists of a 5.8-km at-grade and viaduct railway structure and will include the elevated Bicutan and Sucat Stations in Barangay San Martin de Porres, Parañaque City, and Barangay Sucat, Muntinlupa City, respectively. Bicutan will be one of the two shared stations of the NSCR and MMSP.
Work on CP S-01 is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of the year followed by CPs S-03a and S-03c in the first quarter of 2024.
The CP S-01 and CP S-03 contracts were awarded to the joint venture of PT Adhi Karya (Persero) Tbk and PT PP (Persero) Tbk while the joint venture of Leighton Contractors (Asia) Ltd. and First Balfour Inc. bagged CP S-03a.
With this signing, all of the nine contracts for the south line have been awarded.
For the north section, only the Tutuban station contract is yet to be awarded; the other seven had been finalized.
Last year, the DOTr also inked a contract to secure 38 eight-car train sets for the NSCR system, in addition to the 13 units it previously ordered. These were designed to operate up to 120 kilometers per hour.
The railway project is estimated to have generated 50,000 direct jobs and 110,000 indirect jobs during construction. Additional 8,000 jobs are seen to be created when the railway is fully operational.
Targeted to be on full operation by 2029, the NSCR will connect Clark, Pampanga and Calamba City, Laguna. The railway measures P157.26 km with 35 stations, three depots, 52 commuter train sets, and seven express train sets. Travel time is two hours end-to-end with 800,000 passengers per day on full operation.
Last April, the President also witnessed the signing of two South Commuter Railway projects awarded to Acciona-DMCI Joint Venture and to Leighton-First Balfour.
The commencement of the construction for the entire NSCR is on or before October this year. Only two more NSCR contracts, one for a segment and another for trains, remain to be awarded. Nine contracts were awarded in the previous administration.
The President called on all concerned agencies and other stakeholders to collaborate in addressing potential challenges on the commencement of civil works for the railway project.
He also acknowledged the plight of informal settler families who will be affected by the construction of the railway system “as well as the disturbances that the construction of the NSCR system will cause.”
“These are the inevitable consequences of these large projects, but it is something that we have to go through if we are going to complete the projects as they have been designed and we will—to be able to reap the benefits in the longer term,” he added.