The National Economic and Development Authority Board on Tuesday green-lighted 10 new projects to proceed—including the P355.6-billion Metro Manila Subway, which will be fully funded as the biggest-ever official development assistance from Japan.
The construction of the Metro Manila Subway Project-Phase 1, which will connect Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City, is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2018, and is expected to partially operate in 2022, and fully operational by 2025.
The extension to the NAIA complex followed the endorsement of the project by the Neda Investment Coordination Committee earlier this month.
"The extension will mean greater connectivity and improved passenger comfort and convenience,” Transportation Secretary Arthur 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.”
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 via Official Development Assistance, with an interest of 0.10 percent per annum, payable in 40 years, 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.
To improve mass transport and connectivity to and from Metro Manila, also approved were 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 PHP 299.4 billion; the P4.6-billion Binondo-Intramuros and P1.4-billion Estrella-Pantaleon Bridges construction project, to be funded by the Chinese government and the change in mode of implementation for the Clark International Airport Expansion Project.
Also approved is the increase in costing for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit from P16.3 billion from P10.6 billion, following initial constraints due to road-right-of-way acquisition costs, the P2.7 billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, subject to the inclusion of DOF in the Project Management Team and the regular monitoring of NEDA; and the P3.5-billion Lower Agno Irrigation System Improvement Project.
The NEDA Board also gave its ad referendum on the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility, the Department of Public Works and Highways improvement of Growth Corridors in Mindanao; and the 18 month Validity Extension of the ADB Loan for Improvement and Institutional Development Project.
Meanwhile, the NEDA Board deferred its approval of the Implementation Plan for the New Centennial Water Source - Kaliwa Dam Project and the discussion on the UMALPAS Housing Cooperative's Medium Rise Building Project.