Subway rail, funding to begin
The Transportation Department said it expects to start the construction of the P355.6-billion Metro Manila Subway Project by the fourth quarter of next year.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the agency secured an approval from the National Economic and Development Authority board to build a subway, which will run from Quirino Highway in Quezon City to the NAIA complex in Parañaque City.
“The extension will mean greater connectivity and improved passenger comfort and convenience,” Tugade said.
“In other countries, you can reach other cities without ever leaving the platform. So we [economic managers] thought, since we’re going to build a subway anyway, why not push to extend it to NAIA? It just makes perfect sense,” he added.
The Neda board also approved four new “flagship” projects during their fifth meeting Tuesday, bringing the administration’s total number of approved projects to 35 worth ₱1.2 trillion, excluding the cost of the Tawi-Tawi bridges.
“The approval and eventual completion of these projects will pave the way for us to achieve our mid-term and long-term goals as a country and a nation,” Neda director-general and Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.
The board also approved other big ticket infrastructure projects of the DOTr such as the Philippine National Railway’s South Commuter (Manila-Los Baños) and South Long Haul (Manila-Bicol/Sorsogon/Batangas) Projects, which have a total project cost of P299.4 billion.
The first phase of the subway project, with an estimated initial investment requirement of ₱355.588 billion, will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to FTI in Taguig and terminate at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City.
DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said the department along with the Japan International Cooperation Agency scheduled the groundbreaking for MMSP in the fourth quarter of 2018, and was pushing for partial operations in 2022, and full operations by 2025.
“Secretary Tugade has been working closely with Jica in order to expedite the completion of the project and allow the public to enjoy the benefits of a subway system earlier,” Chavez said.
Apart from a world-class design, the subway system will have water-stop panels, doors, and high-level entrance for flood prevention, earthquake detection, and a train stop system, just like the subways in Tokyo.
The country’s first subway system will be financed through an official development assistance loan, with an interest of 0.10 percent per annum, payable in 40 years and inclusive of a grace period of 12 years.
The signing of the loan commitment by Japan is scheduled in November when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with President Rodrigo Duterte during the Asean Summit.
Other projects approved during the Neda board meeting are the Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project of the Department of Public Works and Highways. The project, worth ₱21.19 billion through a loan from the Asian Development Bank, involves the upgrading of seven roads and the widening of a 40-km road segment with slope protection. Construction is set to begin late this year and end in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The three Tawi-Tawi bridges under the project is conditionally approved. With Julito G. Rada