In a Facebook post, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the first batch, made up of eight train cars, was the first of a total of 120 train cars for the project.
During the arrival ceremony, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the project began 19 years ago but had “zero percent” of its right-of-way (ROW) certified as “free and clear” by an independent consultant in 2016 despite the ROW acquisition receiving its budget from Congress in 2007.
“Under the Duterte administration, we pushed and pushed hard. That is why today, we see the steps of the whole realization of this project – partial operability within this year, by accepting the trains and the cars,” Tugade said.
The project is a partnership among the DOTr, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Light Rail Transit Authority, the Light Rail Manila Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Spanish rolling stock manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocariles (CAF), and CMX Consortium.
In the same event, Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa pledged to work closely with the Philippine government, citing the December 14 commitment made by Japanese Prime Minister Suga to support President Rodrigo Duterte's “Build, Build, Build” program.
"The strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines has proven that this pandemic is not a stumbling block that could stop us from reaching our destination. Japan is with the Philippines all the way and this unswerving support is very evident in the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program," Koshikawa said in a speech.
He said the fourth-generation train set manufactured by CAF is powered by select Japanese products and technology.
"(I) feel particularly upbeat about this Japan-Philippines-Spain trilateral cooperation. Our project contractor, Mitsubishi Corp., is working double time for the rehabilitation of LRT-1, and CAF’s rolling stock will surely be a vital component," Koshikawa said. "The arrival of the new light rail vehicles for Metro Manila’s LRT Line-1 signals a major uplift to its operations."
Once the project is completed, the LRT-1 will connect Baclaran and Bacoor, Cavite, reducing travel time from one hour and 10 minutes to 25 minutes.
As of December 31, the project was 51.61-percent complete, with recent construction works, such as bored piling, pier/portal column works, and Manila International Airport station foundation works.