Metro Manila subway project gets greenlight

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — The green light to begin construction early next year of a P355 billion (US$7.1 billion) subway running 25 kilometers throughout Metro Manila was given by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), officials said.

This, as the government's economic team led by NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III head to Tokyo, Japan on September 25 for a third meeting with top-level Japanese officials, the Department of Finance said in a statement Thursday.

"We want to discuss with them how we can fast-track the process of implementing the projects," Secretary Dominguez said of their meeting of the Philippines-Japan High-Level Committee on Infrastructure and Economic Cooperation from September 25 to 26.

The Metro Manila Subway Project's estimated cost will come from a loan from Japan Official Development Assistance.

The planned subway, a first for this metropolis of 13 million people, will run from  Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the FTI complex in Taguig City, with an additional line extending towards the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals in Pasay City. With the subway, the trip from Quezon City to Taguig can be done in half an hour.

The subway is expected to be completed in 2022, and will be able to accommodate a daily ridership of 350,000, the government said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Pernia said the construction of the subway will boost mass transport and ease traffic in Metro Manila.

"The MMSP's first phase will significantly improve Metro Manila's  transportation system, air quality, and productivity, thereby reducing the ₱2.4 billion economic loss the country incurs daily due to heavy traffic,"  Pernia said.

NEDA reviews, evaluates, and monitors infrastructure projects identified  under the Comprehensive and Integrated Infrastructure Program. After the NEDA Board gives the go-signal to a project, the Department of Public Works and Highways starts the project implementation with fund  allotment, right-of-way acquisition, bidding and contracting, and  construction.

The Metro Manila subway is part of the Duterte administration's ₱8.2  trillion "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program.

"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," Pernia said.

Aside from the Metro Manila Subway Project, NEDA also gave the go-signal to four key projects.

The new projects are "Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector" in the southern island of Mindanao; the construction of the Binondo-Intramuros bridge in Manila City and Estrella-Pantaleon bridge in Mandaluyong and Makati City; the Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project in seven municipalities in Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac; and the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility of the Department of Finance.