Construction of the country’s first underground railway system has begun, following Monday’s groundbreaking at the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP).
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who led the groundbreaking ceremony with Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko, said the subway project would spur economic activities and provide commuters with a safe and efficient way to get around the city.
Koshikawa said the groundbreaking was a sign that Japan’s cooperation with the Philippines on infrastructure projects was gaining momentum under the Marcos administration’s “Build Better More” policy.
The entire MMSP, which has an approved project cost of over P488 billion, is supported by loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Monday’s groundbreaking was for a portion of the subway that will be built by the Tokyu-Tobishima Megawide Joint Venture, covered by Contract Package 104, which will cost P17.75 billion.
The whole train system once built will shorten travel time between Quezon City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from one hour and 30 minutes to only 35 minutes. Once it is up and running, the subway can accommodate more than 519,000 passengers a day.
“With accessible designated stations that can cater to a massive volume of passengers, we anticipate helping our people skip the long lines of traffic and even spare themselves from the perils of commuting,” Mr. Marcos said.
“With improving linkages of key areas in business districts in the metro as well as the availability of stalls and other stores in the stations and nearby markets, we can see more business opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors and additional economic activity,” he added.
The President also encouraged the public to take the inconveniences brought about by the construction of the subway system in stride.
“Although it is a given that the construction of these structures will take time and cause disruption, let us be optimistic and just count the small inconveniences as a small price to pay for the fruitful results that this… project will yield,” he said.
In a TV interview, Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said the entire subway system would be completed by 2028 or 2029.
The average completion time for subway system projects in other countries is about six to seven years, he added.
The Metro Manila Subway covers 33 kilometers with 17 stations from Valenzuela City to NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City.
Chavez said construction already started in East Valenzuela station and depot as well as in the North Avenue station.
The contract signing for Packages 2 and 3 including the stations in Ortigas, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, and Katipunan will be held next month, he added,
He said the system will be resilient to earthquakes and floods because it will have the same technology used in Japan, which frequently experiences earthquakes.
Contract Package 104, signed on May 5, will construct two underground stations—Ortigas and Shaw Boulevard Stations—and tunnels.