DOTr: ADB to help in privatization of two big-ticket railway projects

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 2) — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is now looking for the "most qualified and experienced" private operator for two big-ticket railway projects of the government, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help in the selection process.

The DOTr and the ADB on Thursday signed transaction advisory services agreements for the privatization of the operations and maintenance of the Metro Manila Subway and the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR).

"By extending the ADB's advisory services on the Metro Manila Subway Project and the North-South Commuter Railway, we can fine-tune the selection process for the most qualified and experienced private sector operators for these railway projects," Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said in a statement.

Bautista added that the ADB will help them through the preparation, structuring, and procurement of the concessionaire for the projects.

The subway is the country's first-ever underground railway system, which stretches from Valenzuela City to Bicutan in Taguig. Once completed, the project is expected to service over 519,000 commuters daily.

The NSCR, on the other hand, will pass across 28 cities and municipalities within the regions of Central Luzon, the National Capital Region, and Calabarzon.

The DOTr, meanwhile, said it is turning to the ADB for advice on the modernization of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

"We look forward in earnest to the ADB's advice on how to best proceed in modernizing and expanding NAIA," Bautista said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier said the government has no plans to privatize NAIA. Bautista, however, clarified that the plan is to let the private sector handle the operations of the country's main gateway, while its assets will remain under government control.