Settlement of vital disputes for railway projects

The resolution of legal disputes and the acquisition of the road right-of-way have been cited as key factors in achieving and sustaining progress on major rail projects underway by the government, the Department of Transport (DoTr) said this weekend. -end.

Since 1994, several attempts to revive the various segments of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project have failed for various reasons, the DoTr said.

“After more than two decades and attempts by four administrations to implement, in June 2016, the 147-kilometre, 35-station NSCR project, had no contract awarded, no physical progress and no trains ordered, began production “said the DoTr. noted.

“Worse, the latest attempt to implement the project ended in a long legal battle in international arbitration, which threatened to further delay and block progress on the NSCR from June 2016,” he said. -he adds.

In 2017, the DoTr reached a landmark legal dispute settlement agreement with Sinomach (China National Machinery Industry Corporation) that paved the way for the construction of the NSCR.

“This decision saved the Philippine government more than 5 billion pesos ($100 million) in potential payment of claims against Sinomach, and hundreds of millions more in legal fees and arbitration costs. , the settlement agreement has removed this legal impediment to the progress of the NSCR project,” said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

With the assistance of the Japanese government, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the DoTr said that the Philippine National Railway (PNR) Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban- Malolos; 38 kilometres) and PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark; 53 kilometres) are now in full swing with construction.

Delivery of the NSCR’s 58 eight-car trainsets (totaling 464 sars or bagons) has begun, with the first trainset having already been delivered in November 2021, the agency said.

In addition, the nine civil works contracts for the construction of PNR-Calamba (Manila-Calamba covering 56 kilometers) are about to be awarded in the first quarter of 2022.

A DoTr progress report showed that as of December 2021, PNR Clark 1 had an overall progress rate of 53.85%, while PNR Clark 2 had an overall progress rate of 34.46%.

The NSCR will reduce travel time from Clark International Airport to Calamba, Laguna from over four hours to as little as one hour and 30 minutes and is expected to serve over one million passengers daily when fully operational.

Additionally, construction of the Cavite Light Rail Line 1 (LRT) 1 extension project from Baclaran to Bacoor began on September 1, 2019, after being delayed for more than 20 years.

“Having caught up with the acquisition of the right-of-way and its free and clear certification, as well as resolving a number of unresolved issues and constraints, the DoTr, in conjunction with the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and Light Rail Manila Corp., has begun actual construction work for the project,” the agency said.

When completed, this extension is expected to reduce travel time between Baclaran and Bacoor, Cavite to just 25 minutes from 1 hour and 10 minutes, and increase the capacity of LRT-1 from 500,000 to 800,000 passengers per day.

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