Opening remarks by Ahmed M. Saeed, ADB Vice-President, Operations 2, at the Philippine Department of Transportation – ADB Office of Public-Private Partnership Signing Ceremony for Transaction Advisory Services Mandates, 2 February 2023

Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, distinguished guests from the Department of Transportation and colleagues. On behalf of the Asian Development Bank, it is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to the signing of Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) Mandates for:

  • The Modernization and Capacity Expansion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Regional Airports; and
  • The Extension of the TAS Mandates for (i) the North-South Commuter Rail (NSCR) and (ii) the Metro Manila Subway (MMSP) Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Projects.

An efficient, safe, reliable, and climate-resilient transport infrastructure is the backbone of economic activity that fuels inclusive growth. Transport infrastructure is vital to maintaining connectivity and accessibility to spur sustainable growth.

The cross-cutting issues in the provision of safe and reliable transport infrastructure requires a strong partnership between the public and private sectors.

ADB is honored to have this opportunity to support the Department of Transportation in structuring transactions that attract suitably qualified private sector players and harness private sector innovation, expertise, and experience in transport infrastructure.

The rehabilitation, expansion, and modernization of NAIA will ensure that its capacity is ahead of the passenger traffic curve to accommodate projected growth and consistently provide optimum service levels. As the country’s main gateway, NAIA’s strategic importance to the Philippines compounds the urgency to enhance its capacity, improve passenger experience, ensure safety and security, and optimize operations. The modernization and expansion of regional airports will improve connectivity and drive development in the regional centers.

ADB has been supporting the development of the rail sector in the Philippines. The NSCR is a 147km rail system connecting commuters from Clark, Pampanga in North Luzon through Metro Manila to Calamba, Laguna in Southern Luzon, while the MMSP is a 33km underground metro system that will traverse Metro Manila from Quezon City to the NAIA airport terminals, and inter-operate with the NSCR from Bicutan to Calamba. The two sections of the NSCR, namely the Malolos-Clark Railway Project (MCRP) and the South Commuter Railway Project (SCRP), were financed by ADB for $7.05 billion in total, the largest infrastructure financing for ADB to-date. The railway lines will create more than 50,000 jobs during construction, and once completed, will provide affordable, safe, reliable and fast public transport for commuters and create more than 5,000 jobs. ADB is providing TAS support for the NSCR O&M and the MMSP O&M Projects, to assist in the selection of experienced and qualified operators for each of the line, so that the intended benefits to our commuters can be realized. The TAS support has been ongoing, and the term extension demonstrates the commitment from both parties to see the Projects through completion, ensuring that the rail sector is indeed at “full speed ahead”.

Thank you.