Russia to fund feasibility study for North Luzon railway

DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade (3rd from right, back row) led the Philippine delegation to the bilateral talks with Russian transport officials. (DOTr photo)

The Department of Transportation and Russia’s Ministry of Transport have agreed to a cooperation on a railway project and maritime training, to a demonstration of Russia’s GPS system, and to the establishment of direct flights between Manila and Moscow.

The agreements were reached during a bilateral talk between DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and his Russian counterpart Maxim Sokolov at the City of Dreams in Paranaque City on Tuesday. Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar and Bases Conversion and Development Authority Presiden Vince Dizon also participated in the talks.

According to the DOTr, the two sides will explore a Russian development assistance for the Northern Luzon railway project that will link the New Clark City in Pampanga to northern cities.

The Russian assistance will commence with a grant for the preparation of a feasibility study.

The DOTr also will explore the use of GLONASS, Russia’s version of the US GPS, for road emergency response, truck weight monitoring, and air navigation applications.

On maritime cooperation, Russia plans to deploy training vessels to the Philippines and establish an exchange program between the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy PMMA and Russia’s maritime academy. Russia also plans to donate a training vessel to the Philippines.

On aviation, Tugade and Sokolov discussed launching direct flights between Manila and Moscow under existing aviation agreements.