By: Elena Grace Flores
Japan’s P110-billion granting a loan to the Philippine for the Malolos-Tutuban railway which ‘is one of the biggest Japanese yen loans ever’ – will be utilized in replicating Japan’s train platform that when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck Japan, around 38 high-speed rail trains were still running in the northern part of the country until they were halted safely. Although it is up to the Duterte administration to decide if it will also implement Japan’s technology on the trains 100 percent.
President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida discussed this project during the recent meeting. “The 38 trains actually came to a halt – safely. And nobody was hurt,” said Masato Ohtaka, deputy press secretary of the Japanese foreign ministry who attested to the trains’ reliability.
This North-South Commuter Railway Projec tis set to connect Tutuban in Manila and Malolos in Bulacan. The Japanese Embassy also said this railway project aims “to strengthen the transportation network and decongest Metro Manila.” This is seen “contributing to the expansion of Metro Manila’s economic sphere and alleviation of air pollution.”
Ohtaka further explained that the Philippines is “a very important partner” of his country, “and prosperity in the Philippines is very important.” He also stressed that the bulk of the Philippines’ economic activity “is concentrated in the greater Manila area.” He said he knows “how much problems transportation can create” if solutions are hampered and do not come in a “timely” manner. “We sympathize with the Filipinos, that this is a project that needs to be done very quickly,” he added.