DOTr Sec. Tugade (2nd from left), Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Yoshio Wada, Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. Ltd. President and CEO Hideo Arai, Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, PNR General Manager Junn Magno, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, and other government officials and stakeholders, lower the time capsule into the construction site ground during the groundbreaking ceremony for the PNR Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban-Malolos).
North-South commuter railway project
Construction of the North-South commuter railway project is going full blast that would connect Tutuban station in Manila to Malolos to the north, known as PNR Clark Phase 1.
PNR Clark Phase 1, a 37.6-kilometer mass railway transportation, is one of the flagship projects of the Duterte administration implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
It will have 13 train sets, composed of 8 cars each, which will be running at a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour.
PNR Clark Phase 1 will have a total of 10 stations — Tutuban, Solis, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos and will house a depot at a 14-hectare lot in Valenzuela City.
Once completed, this project will reduce travel time between Manila and Bulacan from one hour and 45 minutes to 35 minutes, serving approximately over 300,000 passengers daily.
PNR Clark Phase 1 will be seamlessly connected with the PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark) and PNR Calamba, forming one integrated commuter railway system that will serve commuters travelling to and from Manila, Region III, and Region IV-A.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) signed the contract with Sumitomo Mitsui Construction on 23 January 2019 where advanced works started to make way for full construction.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade led the groundbreaking ceremony, together with Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Yoshio Wada, Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, PNR General Manager Junn Magno, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, and officials from the public and private sector.
“This is the President’s gift not only to the people of Bulacan and Pampanga, but more importantly, to the people of this country, in high hopes of providing them with an efficient and comfortable mode of transport. The President would like to reiterate his commitment, that we are committed to give a comfortable life without any temptation or badge of corruption,” Secretary Tugade said.
“During my watch, I want this system to be fast and sure, and I expect that the philosophy of ‘fast and sure’ will be implanted in this project so that this portion will be completed by the last quarter of 2021,” said Tugade.
Appropriate resettlement is ongoing as part of the government’s social responsibility for approximately 300 informal settler families (ISFs) along the project alignment.
The DOTr has signed a agreement with the PNR, National Housing Authority (NHA), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and Local Government Units (LGU’s) for the relocation and resettlement of affected families (ISFs) in Caloocan, Manila, Valenzuela and Guiguinto.
“We affirm our relationship with the Japanese government as we are working very closely together with multiple projects for the benefit of the Filipino people,” Secretary Tugade said.
“Utilizing Japanese technologies and years of railway expertise, the railway project will not only revive traditional railroads but also build a state-of-the-art rapid transit system that is at par with international standards,” Ambassador Haneda said.