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Philippines to restore oldest rail system in $3.79 billion project

Staff writer |
The Philippines will revive the oldest rail system in Southeast Asia and extend long-haul service to other areas, a senior government official said.

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Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya encouraged local and international companies to participate in the bidding of the Philippine National Railways' 170.7-billion-pesos ($3.79 billion) project, involving the south line of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP).

"This is our biggest project yet: the revival of the oldest rail system in Southeast Asia, beginning with the Manila-Legazpi section plus additional branch lines totaling 653 kilometers," he said, noting that this is the ninth transportation public-private partnership project under the Aquino administration.

The project is envisioned to be operational in 2020 and is expected to yield a demand of 316,000 passengers per day on its opening year.

It is also projected to entice around 44,000 public and private vehicle users to shift their commutes to the modernized railway.

The winning bidder will operate, maintain, and upgrade the south line for 34 years, including the construction period of four years.

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