The rail line linking Manila and Bulacan, Philippine National Railways (PNR) Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban-Malolos), first segment of the P319.5 Billion North-South Commuter Railway, Monday, (June 14) posted a 46.68 percent overall progress rate and is on track to be completed second quarter of 2024.
It’s “fast becoming a reality” after almost three decades of delay, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade announced last night after conducting an inspection of its Balagtas Station and Calumpit construction yard.
The train sets to be used for the project will be delivered in December while the training center for the rail line will be finished before the year ends, he added.
Funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the PNR Clark Phase 1 is a 38-kilometer railway that cuts through the cities of Manila, Caloocan, Valenzuela, and the municipalities of Meycuayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos City in Bulacan.
Once completed, the project will serve 300,000 passengers daily and is expected to slash travel time from Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan from one hour and 30 minutes to just 35 minutes.
To prove that the PNR Clark Phase 1 project is on schedule, Tugade personally visited the Balagtas Station and the Calumpit construction yard barely a month after conducting a series of inspections at the project’s Meycauayan and Valenzuela segments.
During the inspection, 70 former overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), now employed at the Calumpit construction yard, welcomed the DOTr Secretary.
With movement restrictions imposed by states due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many OFWs lost their jobs and were forced to return home.
The DOTr reached out to former OFWs with offers of local under the Build, Build, Build Program of the Duterte Administration.
More employment opportunities prioritizing former OFWs, displaced public utility drivers, and conductors will be opened under DOTr projects, Tugade pledged.
The construction of the project employed at least 7,500 workers and 2,500 additional jobs will be made available once the railway operates.
This first phase will be partially operational in the fourth quarter of this year and fully operational by 2nd quarter of 2024.
This year, the government is spending P38.6 BIllion on the NSCR project and expects to spend P128.8 Billion in 2022.
By 2023, the government has allocated P101Billion for the project; P31.135 Billion, in 2024 and P19.76 Billion, in 2025.
SIGN UP TO DAILY NEWSLETTERCLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP