Philippines, ADB sign $1.3-B loan deal for Malolos-Clark Railway

MANILA, Philippines – A $1.3-billion (P66.6-billion) loan agreement for the Malolos-Clark Railway Project (MCRP) was signed on Thursday, July 11, in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The deal, signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Asian Development Bank (ADB) vice president Ahmed Saeed in Malacañang, kickstarts efforts to construct a 53.1-kilometer railway section that will link Malolos City, Bulacan; Clark, Pampanga; and the Clark International Airport.

Another portion of the same project will connect Solis and Blumentritt in Manila through a 1-kilometer railway.

Targeted to be completed in 2021, the MCRP is envisioned to reduce travel time from Manila to the Clark International Airport to less than an hour from the current 2 to 3 hours. (READ: 17 stations of Manila-Clark Railway announced)

The MCRP is just one part of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), a 163-kilometer rail network that will connect New Clark City in Clark, Pampanga; the Clark International Airport; Manila; and Calamba City, Laguna, by 2025.

The agreement signed on Thursday is for the first tranche of a total ADB loan amounting to $2.75 billion (P141 billion). This amount, said Dominguez, is the single largest infrastructure investment made by the ADB in any country.

After the $1.3-billion (P66.6-billion) first tranche, the ADB has committed a second tranche of $1 billion (P51.2 billion), and a 3rd tranche of $450 million (P23 billion).

The total $2.75-billion (P141-billion) ADB loan is only a third of the funding requirements for the MCRP. The Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, will provide $2.011 billion (P102.9 billion) while the Philippine government will shoulder $1.378 billion (P70.5 billion).

In total, the MCRP will cost $6.139 billion (P314.26 billion) to build. –

P51.19 = $1

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at