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France dangles 'highly concessional' loan for Metro Manila cable car system

France dangles 'highly concessional' loan for Metro Manila cable car system

MANILA, Philippines — The French government is willing to extend a “highly concessional loan” to fund a proposed urban cable car system to help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz discussed several projects for possible funding by France including a cable car system that will serve as an environment-friendly means of reducing congestion in the metro.

Boccoz expressed her government’s willingness to provide financing support for the project through a “highly concessional“ loan.

The proposed $100-million Manila Urban Car Cable Project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is currently lined up for approval by the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC).

It initially involves the construction of a cable-propelled mass transport system covering about 4.5 kilometers along the Santolan-Eastwood-Pasig corridor.

France extended a grant to finance the feasibility study on the project in 2018.

During the virtual meeting, Boccoz also confirmed to Dominguez the willingness of the French Treasury to support the acquisition of patrol vessels under maritime cooperation.

This includes the proposal to acquire from French shipbuilder OCEA up to 40 units of 24-meter fast patrol boats (FPBs) along with two additional 84-meter offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and two coastal patrol boats for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

France earlier delivered to the Philippines the OPV, christened the Gabriela Silang, in 2019 as well as four FPBs in 2018.

Boccoz also expressed France’s interest in helping develop the Philippines’ shipbuilding industry.

Given the assurance by  Dominguez on the Philippines’ continued prudent fiscal management and implementation of tax reforms to augment funds for COVID-19 response and economic recovery, Boccoz said the country remains a viable investment destination for foreign investors.