PNR asks for feasibility of Cabanatuan-Makati line

MANILA — The Philippine National Railways (PNR) has requested the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for a feasibility study on the planned Cabanatuan-Makati Line or the northeast commuter line, as part of the process for getting the final nod on the project, aimed at improving transportation in the Greater Capital Region (GCR).

The GCR covers the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 3 (Central Luzon) and Region 4-A (Calabarzon), which accounts for one-third of the country’s total population and provides major contribution to domestic output.

During the loan signing ceremony on Monday for another batch of infrastructure projects that will be financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), PNR General Manager Junn B. Magno said the government is now concentrating on the GCR.

“The focus of the DOTr (Department of Transportation) and PNR is to go for transitory development. So, we’re opening this new large tax of land for development so that GCR will reach that area and support the growth targets of the Department of Finance,” he said.

Aside from the northeast line, Magno said they are also requesting for feasibility studies for the Cabanatuan-Bulacan line and the San Jose, Nueva Ejica to Tarlac City line, with the latter to be connected to the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR).

On Monday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and JICA Director-General Shigenori Ogawa signed a PHP80.47-billion loan agreement, which represents the first tranche of Japan’s financing support for the NSCR Extension Project.

Total project cost is about PHP628.42 billion, which to date, is the biggest combined project under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

In particular, this 147-km. project involves the 38-km. line from Manila to Malolos, Bulacan; the 53-km. line from Malolos, Bulacan to Clark, Pampanga; and the 56-km. line from Manila to Calamba, Laguna. Joann Villanueva/PNA –