JICA, DOTR join forces to beef up local railway management

The Department of Transportation (DOTR) has collaborated with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to build a Philippine Railway Institute (PRI) in line with the Philippine government’s aim to boost the country’s human resources capacity on railway management.

Slated to begin on April 2018 until March 2023, the new technical cooperation project was finalized after the DOTR and JICA signed the Record of Discussion (RD). The institute will focus on capacity building and will have 26 experts from Japan dispatched to the Philippines.

The PRI, once settled, will be the nation’s first expert body that will deal with human asset improvement and research on the nation’s expanding railroad frameworksa segment of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” campaign that aims to support the Philippines’ financial development.

The PRI project will be located at the Metro Manila Subway Project depot in Valenzuela City.

“JICA welcomes the opportunity to assist the Philippines in promoting seamless mobility and sustainable development that will benefit many Filipinos. Through this project with DOTR, Japanese experts can help train personnel and develop curriculum on railway operations and management,” said JICA Senior Representative Tetsuya Yamada.

Under the venture, DOTR will work with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), current railroad administrators, and Japanese specialists in creating educational modules and preparing mentors for the organization.

A high-level Philippine delegation has already visited the Tokyo Metro’s training center in Japan, which is one of the most sophisticated human resource development centers for Japan’s railway sector.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has also endorsed the Metro Manila Subway, another JICA-backed transport foundation venture, a year ago as a part of the administration’s interests in transport framework.

Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano signed the Exchange of Notes on the project, in the presence of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Duterte, as part of the two countries’ bilateral agreement in the ASEAN Summit held in Manila last November 2017.

JICA is likewise helping the Philippines by providing a primary Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for the new lifted railroad interfacing Malolos in Bulacan and Tutuban in Manila, which is under the US$2 billion North-South Commuter Railway Project.

This isn’t the first occasion when JICA is helping the Philippines’ institutional capacity. Since the 1960s, JICA has helped prepare workforce and build training centers for various industries, including the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), National Maritime Polytechnic Training Center, UP Information Technology Development Center, and National Center for Transportation Studies, among others.