The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines has informed China that the contract for the North Luzon Railways Corp., which was found to be anomalous, will no longer push through.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who used to hold the Trade and Industry portfolio, said Tuesday that he discussed the disengagement process on the Northrail project with Chinese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Fu Ying over the weekend.
He added that the Philippines renegotiated the payment terms for a portion of the $500-million loan intended to finance the project.
China, he said, agreed to a two-year repayment period.
Roxas said China decided to call the loan at the height of tensions between Manila and Beijing over disputed territory in the South China Sea, which the Philippines calls the West Philippine Sea.
“The timing may be coincidental but, with or without the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal issue, the fact remains that the contract is anomalous and we cannot push through with it,” Roxas explained.
“We told them that the Northrail project will no longer push through because the Supreme Court has already ruled that the contract is anomalous,” he added.
Nevertheless, Roxas said the government will push through its plan to build a high-speed rail connection to Clark but will reassess if it will still implement this through Northrail.
The Northrail project was meant to provide a fast, efficient and reliable mass transportation service for people and goods between Metro Manila and Central and Northern Luzon.