The infrastructure commission’s decision is expected to be approved at the next meeting of the Neda board in September. The ruling will apply to both state-funded projects and public private partnerships.

Neda says the use of standard-gauge in place of the 1067mm gauge used on the 479km Philippines National Railway (PNR) network will provide a better choice of technology from international suppliers and enable higher operating speeds.

Neda recently approved a number of changes to the Pesos 170.7bn ($US 3.66bn) southern section of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP), including a switch from 1067mm-gauge to standard-gauge.