DoTr eyes to attract more Japanese investors.

More Japanese firms are expected to invest in mass transport projects in the Philippines, according to Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Jaime J. Bautista.  

Hankyu Corporation, a Japanese private railway company that operates 190 kilometers of railway lines in Japan, and Sumitomo Corporation, a Japanese trading company, signed an agreement with the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) to aid in evaluating Light Rail Transit 1’s (LRT-1) operations and improve its processes and personnel training. 

“This serves as [a] showcase to convince new Japanese investors to seriously consider Philippine mass transport projects,” Mr. Bautista said. 

With the LRT-1 Cavite extension phase 1 set to partially operate this year, Mr. Bautista said that this is a timely agreement. 

“This added layer of assistance will be most helpful especially at this time when the Cavite Extension is about to start partial operations very soon,” he said. 

On its website, LRMC says that the extension project will add 11 kilometers to the existing railway and cover major cities, including Quezon City and Manila, up to Bacoor, Cavite. It also expects to serve 800,000 passengers daily. 

“The LRT-1 Cavite Extension Project is poised to significantly contribute to the nation’s economic growth and development by fostering improved connectivity between individuals and communities,” LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Juan F. Alfonso said last March 6. 


Railways to help solve NCR congestion 

According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) last May 13, the ongoing crisis in the mass transportation system causes Metro Manila to be one of the most congested cities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

JICA also highlighted “the pressing need for improving the public transportation network, including the development of new railroad infrastructure.”  

Hankyu Corp Senior Managing Director Masayoshi Uemora said that building railway systems in the Philippines can help resolve traffic congestion. 

“Railway service plays an increasingly important role in helping solve this crisis,” he said. 

Last November 3, Mr. Bautista stated that “the big-ticket railway projects of the DOTr aims to resurrect the country’s once thriving rail industry while promoting a highly sustainable form of transportation.” 

In line with this, improved accessibility to cities will create more job opportunities for people, stimulating economic growth in regions, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Railways Jorjette Aquino said. – Almira Louise S. Martinez