The Department of Transportation said over the weekend the overall progress of the country’s first underground mass transport system reached 25.09 percent as of November last year.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the P355-billion Metro Manila Subway Project is considered one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country.
A subway in Metro Manila was planned and proposed as early as 1973 in the Urban Transport Study in Manila Metropolitan Area.
Tugade, however, said the Metro Manila Subway Project had no completed feasibility study, no approval from the National Economic and Development Authority board, no financing and not a single contract when the Duterte administration came in June 2016, .
“This means that for more than 40 years and six administrations, all we had were talks, proposals, plans, studies, drawings and powerpoint presentations,” said Tugade.
“Now, the MMSP is already NEDA board-approved, already funded by the Japanese, and its partial operability civil works, trains and electromechanical systems already contracted. Actual construction works by the design-build contractor for the partial operability section began in 2019 with site clearing works at MMSP’s Valenzuela depot,” he said.
The government, on July 27, 2021, signed a 253-billion-yen (P116 billion) in additional loan package to finance the subway’s construction. The second tranche of the project’s ODA loan has an interest rate of 0.10 percent per annum, payable in 40 years with a 13-year grace period. This followed the first tranche amounting to 104.530 billion yen which was signed on Nov. 13, 2017.
The department earlier said the East Valenzuela station, PRI building and depot of the Metro Manila Subway was targeted to be completed by 2022.
Dubbed as the “Project of the Century,” the underground rail line is expected to serve 370,000 passengers daily in its first year of full operations.
Once completed and fully operational, the Metro Manila Subway Project will have 15 stations, including a terminal station at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
Funded by the Japanese government, the subway is expected be completed by 2024 or 2025. It is part of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
The government is also building the P777.55-billion North-South Commuter Railway, a 148-km route length rail line, with 37 stations, 464 train cars and an estimated 830,000 passenger capacity per day once fully operational.
The NSCR encompasses three railway projects, including the PNR Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban – Malolos), which is a 38-km. rail line that will connect Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan and is projected to reduce travel time from 1 hour and 30 minutes to just 35 minutes.