China to help in P151-B rehab and extension of PNR railway to Bicol

By Emmie V. Abadilla

The Philippines and China on Tuesday exchanged the signed contracts for the Project Management Consultancy (PMC) of the P151-billion, 639-kilometer, Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long Haul (PNR Bicol) at Malacañang Palace, witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Nov. 17 signed the PMC deal with the China Railways Design Corp. (CRDC) and the Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co. (WACC) Consortium.

Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board previously approved the financing of the PNR Bicol Project through Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the Government of China.

The PNR Bicol Project is one of the flagship projects of the Duterte Administration under the “Build, Build, Build” Program.

Upon completion, the PNR Bicol Project will connect Metro Manila, Region IV-A (Calabarzon), and Region V (Bicol), reducing travel time from Manila to Legazpi City from 13 hours to under 6 hours.

“The contract marks a milestone for the PNR South Long-Haul Project," remarked CRDC Chairman of the Board Liu Weiqun.

"We will do our best to perform the PMC services according to the contract stipulations and the requirements of the DOTr and PNR. We will contribute to make this important government-to-government cooperation a high-quality project,” he elaborated.

As with other ODA-financed projects, the DOTr engaged a PMC (also called a General Consultant) on technical and commercial matters concerning the project.

Being a China ODA-financed contract, the selection of the PMC was based on a list of qualified and experienced bidders, as endorsed by the Chinese government.

For the PNR Bicol Project, the CRDC-WACC Consortium will conduct all pre-construction surveys (topographic, geotechnical, hydrological, parcellary, environmental, etc.), preparation of designs for bidding, preparation of bidding documents, bidding assistance, construction supervision, as well as defects liability period (warranty) supervision.

“I am very happy with our partnership with the Chinese Consortium, as this is our first contract with China for our railways sector," noted DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade.

"I am hoping that we continue this arrangement for more projects, including our Clark to Subic Railway project that I am hoping to be signed before the end of the year,” he added.