NEDA approves Metro Manila subway project

MANILA –  The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has approved Tuesday the PHP355.6-billion Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) which will run from Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) complex in Paranaque City.

This, after the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) approved earlier this month the subway extension to NAIA.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said the expansion will promote greater connectivity, ease of mobility as well as improve passenger comfort and convenience.

“The extension will mean greater connectivity and improved passenger comfort and convenience,Tugade said in a statement Wednesday.

In other countries, you can reach other cities without ever leaving the platform. So the economic managers thought, since were going to build a subway anyway, why not push to extend it to NAIA? It just makes perfect sense, he added.

Tugade, along with other economic managers, pushed to extend the subway to NAIA to make it easier for airport passengers to get to their destination in Metro Manila. The MMSP was originally supposed to run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City up to the FTI Complex in Taguig City only.

For his part, DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said the department is coordinating with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the swift implementation of the project.

“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.

<p>The subway system will have water stop panels, doors and high level entrance for floor prevention, earthquake detection, and a train stop similar to those in Tokyo.

Chavez said in a previous interview that the department is eyeing to operate five stations of the subway by the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.

Groundbreaking for the railway project is expected by fourth quarter of 2018 with its full operations on 2025.

The subway system is envisioned to be an underground mass transportation system connecting major business districts and government centers which is expected to serve 370,000 passengers daily in its opening year.

The country’s first subway system will cost USD7 billion and will be financed through Official Development Assistance. The loan will have an interest of 10 percent per annum payable in 40 years with a grace period of 12 years.

The agreement is expected to be signed in November when Pres. Duterte meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

The NEDA Board likewise approved earlier other big ticket infrastructure projects of the DOTr such as the Philippine National Railway’s (PNR) South Commuter (Manila-Los Banos) and South Long Haul (Manila-Bicol/Sorsogon/Batangas) Projects, which have a total project cost of PHP299.4 billion.

The PNR South Commuter Line which will run from Tutuban, Manila to Los Banos, Laguna is expected to have a daily ridership of more than 300,000 in its opening year and will reduce travel time from two hours to less than an hour once it becomes operational. The railway system will also be funded by JICA.

The PNR South Long Haul Line from Manila to Legazpi City, Matnog, Sorsogon to Batangas City will involve its reconstruction into a single-track at grade railway connecting cities, international seaports and economic zone.

This will be funded via official development assistance (ODA) from the government of China.