Palace open to possibility of reviving Manila-Clark bullet train

MANILA, Feb. 21 (PNA) — Malacanang on Friday said that it was open to the possibility of reviving the Manila to Clark bullet train given the country’s improved economy.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a Palace briefing said that the proposal will still have to be studied.

Coloma explained that the project concept, which was conceived during the term of former President Fidel Ramos, was a good one, although it did not push through because of conflicts in the past.

“It (bullet train) became a Philippines-China project but because there was a conflict it reached the point they charged us a commitment fee on the loan,” Coloma said in Filipino.

“The penalty, the cost was high, which we think is disproportionate to the actual benefit,” he added. “For all intention purposes, the project will not push through in the same terms and conditions before.

He also said that it was postponed because the Philippines was also “recovering from economic dislocation” during the 1980s.

“Our standing in the international finance community was low, we could not attract investment and financing package that could handle the project cost,” Coloma said.

“If we fast-forward it to now, our financial standing and investment grade is doing well, our interest rates are low and many counties want to invest in big projects,” he added.

“There is still a possibility that ways to revive this project will be studied,” he further said. (PNA)