By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

MASS TRANSPORT SYSTEM. The construction of the Metro Manila Subway Project in North Avenue, Quezon City will be in full swing after the lowering of the tunnel boring machine on March 7, 2024. The 33-kilometer underground railway from Valenzuela City to Pasay City is eyed for partial operations by 2029, according to the Department of Transportation. (PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – The Philippines and Japan on Tuesday formally signed the exchange of notes for the JPY250 billion or around PHP92.8 billion loan that will finance the construction of Dalton Pass East Alignment Road and the ongoing Metro Manila Subway (MMS) project.

Of the amount, JPY100 billion will be allocated for the construction of a bypass road for the Dalton Pass, which links Metro Manila and north-central Luzon.

The remaining JPY150 billion, meanwhile, will serve as the third tranche of Japanese financing for the MMS project.

“On behalf of the Philippines, I signed today diplomatic notes for Japan’s ODA (official development assistance) worth JPY250 billion in loan for the Dalton Pass East Alignment Road Project to enhance the connectivity of Regions I & II to the NCR (National Capital Region), and for the third tranche of the Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase I),” Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said Tuesday.

“Japan, a strategic partner of the Philippines, has been a strong supporter of our infrastructure development and the Build Better More projects,” he added.

In a separate release, the Japanese Embassy in Manila hoped the construction of a disaster-resistant and highly motorable alternative road for Dalton Pass would contribute to the “economic revitalization” of Luzon.

Meanwhile, it looked forward to the reduction of severe traffic congestion and air pollution in Metro Manila with the subway project.

The additional loan follows the 1st tranche of funding for the metro subway in 2017 (JPY104,530 billion) and second tranche (JPY 253,307 million) signed in 2021.

The Embassy said the interest rate for these ODAs is at 0.3 percent per annum, with 0.2 percent per annum set for consulting services.

The repayment period is 40 years, including a 10-year grace period. (PNA)