The over P50-billion Subic-Clark Railway Project (SCRP) remains on track and is set to catapult Central Luzon as the next global destination of industrial investments in the country.
Apart from the expected economic growth in the economy, public transport is also expected to benefit from the project as future passenger service for SCRP will also be connected to the Clark-Manila Railway Project (CMRP) that will connect Clark International Airport and New Clark City (NCC) with Metro Manila.
“Eventually, these inter-operable railway lines will extend to the Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley in the North, and to the Bicol Region in the South,” said Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan in a recent Zoom interview with Manila Bulletin.
The SCRP is also aimed at providing high-capacity freight service to support the existing industrial areas along the Subic-Clark corridor by serving as the link to the airport at Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) and the seaport at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).
The development is seen by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma as their access to the rest of Luzon – from Cagayan up North and Sorsogon down South.
“Just imagine what this means to Subic — connectivity in a wider area and to more economic markets, efficient freight and passenger system, and bigger business opportunities,” said Eisma.
Bataan Governor Albert S. Garcia said the project will be a huge game-changer to the growth and competitiveness of Region 3 and the country since connecting the region’s premier seaport and airport by rail is considered a very strategic move.
“Also, the provinces, cities and municipalities in our region will benefit tremendously by having access to this vital infrastructure. I hope this project will be completed at the soonest possible time so the region can bounce back to a robust economic growth specially when this pandemic is over,” said Garcia.
Meantime, Batan confirmed that the P45 billion Engineering, Procurement Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) contract has been awarded to China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) last Dec. 29 and was signed last Jan. 16. Currently, Loan Agreement for the project is being processed by Department of Finance (DOF).
“Employer’s Representative (ER) contract was awarded last Jan. 28 and target contract-signing will be on the second quarter of 2021 while the Notice of Award was received last March 3 by Consortium of AECOM Singapore Pte. Ltd. and Projects Design Plus Architecture Management Corp,” said Batan.
While SCRP’s new larget date of completion has been pushed back to the fourth quarter of 2024 from its original schedule of Oct. 2022, Batan disclosed that the delay won’t necessarily affect the original budget of over P50 billion.
“Since the project has not officially commenced due to the loan application, the effects of the recent pandemic on the overall budget is still premature to be determined,” added Batan.