The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Department of Transportation (DOTR) are teaming up to build a Philippine Railway Institute (PRI) as part of the Philippine government’s move to beef up the country’s human resources capacity on railway management.
This developed as JICA and DOTR signed the Record of Discussion (RD) for a new technical cooperation project.
The project will begin April, 2018 until March, 2023 and includes capacity building and dispatch of 26 experts from Japan.
The PRI, once established will be the country’s first professional body that will handle human resource development, and research on the country’s expanding railway systems, a component of the Build, Build, Build agenda that aims to sustain the Philippines’ economic growth.
“JICA welcomes the opportunity to assist the Philippines in promoting seamless mobility and sustainable development that will benefit many Filipinos. Through this project with DOTR, Japanese experts can help train personnel and develop curriculum on railway operations and management,” said JICA Senior Representative Tetsuya Yamada.
The PRI project will be located in the depot of the Metro Manila Subway Project in Valenzuela City.
Under the project, DOTR will be working with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), railway operators, and Japanese experts in developing curriculum and training trainers for the institute.
Already, a high level Philippine delegation led by the transport chief visited the Tokyo Metro’s training center in Japan. Said facility is one of the most sophisticated human resource development centers for Japan’s railway sector.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Metro Manila Subway, another JICA-assisted transport infrastructure project, last year as part of the government’s investments in transport infrastructure. Also, Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Peter Cayetano signed the Exchange of Notes on the project in the presence of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Duterte as part of the two countries’ bilateral agreement in the ASEAN Summit in Manila last November.
JICA is also assisting the Philippines for its new elevated railway connecting Malolos, Bulacan, and Tutuban, Manila under the US$2B North-South Commuter Railway Project, the first biggest Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan given by Japan to a partner nation.
This is not the first time that JICA is assisting the Philippines’ institutional capacity. Since the 1960s, JICA has helped train personnel and build centers including the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), National Maritime Polytechnic Training Center, UP Information Technology Development Center, and National Center for Transportation Studies among others.