The construction of the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project, the Philippines’ first underground urban train system, is on track to start by the end of the year, a key Philippine government official said in a forum in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday, June 19.
“We will start the groundbreaking [of the project] by the end of the year. We have advanced the schedule, advancing partial operability by at least six months,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said during the Philippine Economic Briefing in Tokyo, Japan, which was streamed in a Facebook live session on the Philippine Embassy in Japan page.
Considered as one of the Duterte administration’s flagship projects, the first phase of the subway will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) complex in Taguig City and continue to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Stretching through 30 kilometers with 14 stations, it is the country’s first underground railway project.
Designed to be similar to subways in Tokyo, Japan, the subway system will have water-stop panels, doors, high-level entrances for flood prevention, earthquake detection and a train stop system.
Tugade said in the forum that the first three stations of the project—Mindanao Avenue-Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora and North Avenue—and one train depot, would already be operational by the first quarter of 2022. The rest of the subway is expected to be completed by 2025, under the succeeding administration.
In March, the Philippine government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed the $934.75-million loan agreement to fund the first phase of the project. It is the first tranche of the total $5.31-billion loan requirement pledged by JICA. According to the Department of Finance, it was the biggest amount ever committed by Japan to any country.
The Metro Manila Subway is one of the top 10 infrastructure projects named by President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic planners in 2017, which also include highways and airports. The government is expecting to spend Php3.6 trillion to start the construction of these projects in the next three years.
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur.com.ph.