Japan promises $2bn loan to the Philippines

Manila, August 6

Japan has pledged about $2 billion in soft loans to upgrade the Philippines’ crumbling railway system in Tokyo’s biggest ever support for any Filipino project, Manila said today.

The 240 billion-yen package is a signal of increasing cooperation between the former World War II foes, including ‘closer security cooperation’, the foreign department said in a statement.

The low-interest concessional loan will be used to finance a planned 36.7-kilometre elevated commuter railway to link Manila with Malolos City to the north.

The Philippines’ overburdened public transport system has long seen the capital and surrounding areas snarled by huge traffic jams.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario received the pledge from his Japanese counterpart Minoru Kiuchi on the sidelines of a meeting of Asia-Pacific foreign ministers in Malaysia on Wednesday.