Looks like the Philippines will be getting some much-needed aid with the expansion of its railway systems in the form of a generous P110 billion loan from Japan.
In a report by Rappler, Masato Ohtaka, deputy press secretary of the Japanese foreign ministry, explained the necessity for a safe, punctual train system by recalling the March 2011 magnitude-9.0 earthquake that struck Japan. During that time, 38 high-speed rail trains were operating in the northern part of the country.
“The 38 trains actually came to a halt safely. And nobody was hurt,” Ohtaka recalled in an interview on Friday. The press secretary noted: “Tens of thousands of trains are running every year for the last 50 years, and we’ve had no fatal accidents. Zero. Nobody has died because of our high-speed rail system. It takes a lot of work to do that.”
Elaborating on their train system, Ohtaka said that the average delay time of their trains “is about 40 seconds or 30 seconds.” The safe and speedy Shinkansen train system is a national pride, explained Ohtaka. “This is something that we would like the Filipino people to enjoy as well,” Ohtaka added.
Ohtaka outlined the Shinkansen train system in the context of Japan’s ¥241,991 billion (P110.76 billion) loan for the Philippines to build the 38-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway Project. The ambitious project aims to connect Tutuban in Manila to Malolos in Bulacan. The P110 billion loan for the project is one of the biggest Japanese yen loans ever.
Ohtaka said that the Philippines is “a very important partner” of Japan and that “prosperity in the Philippines is very important.” “We sympathize with the Filipinos, that this is a project that needs to be done very quickly,” he added.
The deputy press secretary reiterated the need for timely, efficient transportation systems to improve the country’s economy.