Metro Manila subway extension to Naia approved
The first subway system in the country will be extended to the main international gateway and was approved by economic managers yesterday with a higher project cost of $7 billion, the country’s chief economist said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told the Inquirer that the National Economic and Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) approved the Mega Manila Subway Project Phase 1, subject to the provision of a spur line from FTI to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
As such, the project cost would rise to $7 billion from $4.4 billion, previously, Pernia disclosed, citing preliminary estimates.
The initial plan was to connect Quezon City and Taguig City, specifically the two transport hubs to be put up in the two cities.
While the original proposal was already viable, the adjustment “will surely make the plane-riding public happy,” said Pernia, who also heads the state planning agency Neda.
Pernia said the timetable for the completion of the project was still being ascertained, although he had said that the Department of Transportation wanted to complete it in 2022 instead of the previous target of 2024.
Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said the spur line was decided during a recent Neda ICC and Infrastructure Committee (InfraCom) meeting.
The adjustment in the subway project meant more passengers, improved connectivity as well as better comfort and convenience to the public, Tungpalan said.
The subway will be up for President Duterte’s approval at the Neda Board meeting on Sept. 12, according to Tungpalan.
Pernia earlier told the Inquirer that the Philippine government was looking to secure the biggest official development assistance (ODA) from Japan for the subway system that would serve Metro Manila and surrounding areas.
The Neda chief had said that an estimated $4.4 billion in ODA from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) was in the pipeline to finance the Mega Manila subway.
Pernia had said that they were expecting below 1-percent interest for the loan from Jica, payable in 20 years with a 15-year grace period.
The signing of the loan agreement between the Philippine and Japanese governments was expected to happen on the sidelines of the Asean Summit in November as Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will attend the meeting to be hosted by President Duterte in Manila. —BEN O. DE VERA
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