PH, Russia mull Northern Luzon railway corridor, new direct flights

Chrisee Dela Paz
PH, Russia mull Northern Luzon railway corridor, new direct flights
The two countries are exploring direct flights between their capitals and development assistance for the Philippines' Northern railway corridor

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine and Russia are looking into new direct flights between Manila and Moscow, and the development of a railway corridor from the New Clark City in Tarlac to Tuguegarao in Cagayan.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Russian Minister for Transport Maksim Sokolov met at City of Dreams Manila in Parañaque City on Tuesday, November 14, to discuss “possible areas of cooperation in rails, roads, aviation, maritime, and cable cars.”

The two transportation chiefs met on the sidelines of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings in Manila. (READ: Malaysian firm wants to replicate Putrajaya at New Clark City)

Transportation Assistant Secretary Leah Quiambao said among the topics discussed were Russia’s development assistance for the Northern Luzon railway corridor, satellite navigation technologies, and Manila-Moscow direct flights.

“Russia’s assistance will commence with a grant for the preparation of a detailed feasibility study. Russia is expected to bring…its development experience, gained in the course of building its 86,000 kilometers of main line and 60,000 kilometers of secondary railway lines,” Quiambao said in a message to reporters.

She said no project cost was discussed as of the moment as the talks were still “exploratory.”

The proposed railway is envisioned to run from New Clark City in Tarlac to Tuguegarao in Cagayan.

New flights, navigation technologies

Quiambao said the two ministers will also expore utilization of global navigation satellite system (GLONASS) – a space-based satellite navigation system.

“GLONASS is similar to Global Positioning System. It is for road emergency response, truck weight monitoring, and air navigation applications,” she added.

On maritime transport education, Quiambao said Russia expressed plans to deploy training vessels to the Philippines.

According to Quiambao, Sokolov also plans to conduct learners’ and trainers’ exchange programs between the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy and Russia’s maritime academy.

The  transport ministers also talked about launching direct flights between Manila and Moscow under existing agreements.

Currently, Cathay Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Korean Air, Air China, and Singapore Airlines fly between Manila and Moscow with stops in either Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, or Singapore. 

On Monday, November 13, the Philippines and Japan exchanged notes on the much-awaited Metro Manila Subway project and 4 other infrastructure deals. (READ: PH one step closer to Japan loan for Metro Manila subway–

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