PH gets P93-B Japan loan for Tutuban-Malolos railway project

Paterno Esmaquel II
The Japanese Embassy says the Tutuban-Malolos railway aims to 'ease serious traffic congestion'

STRATEGIC PARTNERS. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2-L) and his wife Akie (L) with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (2-R) and his sister Maria Elena Aquino Cruz (R) at the welcoming dinner for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines, on November 18, 2015. Photo by Wally Santana/Pool/EPA

MANILA, Philippines – Japan on Friday, November 20, announced that it is lending the Philippines P93.46-billion ($1.99 billion) for a 36.7-kilometer railway connecting Tutuban, Manila, and Malolos, Bulacan.

In a statement, the Japanese Embassy said Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa “exchanged notes” for a yen loan “amounting to 241.991 billion yen (approximately P93.457 billion) on November 19, 2015.”

The loan covers the North-South Commuter Railway Project.

The two diplomats formalized this loan in the presence of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“This project aims to strengthen the transport network and ease serious traffic congestion in Metro Manila by constructing a commuter railway between Malolos and Tutuban (a part of the North–South Commuter Railway Project) and contribute to a more secure and sustainable economic development through promotion of investments,” the Japanese Embassy said. 

The embassy said that previously, Abe promised that Japan “would cooperate constructively in the project utilizing Japanese fund and technology.”

Strategic partners

This came as Aquino and Abe met on Thursday, November 19, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. 

Aquino on Thursday hailed the Philippines’ loan agreement with Japan for the Tutuban-Malolos railway.

“This will certainly help us improve the land transportation capacity of the greater Metro Manila area and provide a more environmentally sustainable mode of transport,” the Philippine president said. 

Japan is one of the Philippines 3 strategic partners, aside from the US and Vietnam. 

“There is no question that, more than being strategic partners, the Philippines and Japan have a special bond of friendship – one built on a similar belief in placing the welfare of our people front and center, and being upstanding members of the global community who seek the collective growth and progress of the world we share, a world where no one should be left behind,” the Philippine president said. –

*$1 = P47.04

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at