North-South rail game-changer

 Chairman Isidro Consunji

Chairman Isidro Consunji

By Ruelle Castro

DMCI Holdings Inc. is in talks with  Japanese construction companies which will vie for the contract to build the $2.88-billion North-South Commuter Rail (NSCR) project, its chairman Isidro  Consunji said. 

Consunji said the project has “the best potential” to push through among the Duterte administration’s priority projects under its Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.

The project, which will connect Clark and Laguna to Manila via railway transport, is financed by Japanese official development assistance.

“This project will be a game changer. It will have a tremendous impact on people’s lives. It will allow people to travel from Bulacan to Metro Manila in just 30 minutes. People can now live in Bulacan, Clark or Los Baños and work in Makati,” Consunji said.

Consunji said the Japanese government is very serious in supporting this project while the Philippine government is intent on pursuing it as one of its signature projects.

DMCI is now seeking to partner with Japanese contractors since the project requires them to have a local counterpart, Consunji said.

Consunji said DMCI wants to join the project both as a consortium member and  an engineering contractor. 

“We can do this very fast since the project will be done through the Philippine National Railways which already has the right-of-way for the entire project,” Consunji said.

NSCR, also called Philippine National Railways (PNR) North 1, is a 37.9-kilometer line from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila. The project hopes to initiate a commuter rail service connecting Region 3 to Metro Manila.

The project hopes to cut travel time from Malolos to Tutuban to 35 minutes from one hour and 30 minutes. When it opens in December 2021, NSCR hopes to serve more than 300,000 passengers daily.

The NSCR will be connected to PNR North 2 , a line that runs to Clark International Airport and New Clark City; while the PNR South Commuter line extends to Los Baños, Laguna.