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First 3 Metro subway stations seen ready by 2022

/ 05:37 AM March 17, 2018

The initial three stations of the country’s first subway would be operating by May 2022, government officials said Friday, with the right-of-way needed to start building them ready to be delivered by midyear.

“In line with the ‘fast and sure’ approach, the Philippine government processed the loan approvals for this project within six months only, from the National Economic and Development Authority Board approval on Sept. 12, 2017, up to the signing of the loan agreement today. We are targeting May 2022 to begin operation of the first three of the subway stations—Mindanao Avenue-Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, and North Avenue,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a speech after the signing ceremony of the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s 104.5-billion yen (about P51 billion) first tranche of official development assistance for the P356.9-billion Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1.

The entire central zone will be operational by 2025, including the commercial space for the subway stations that will help defray the cost of operating this facility, Dominguez said.

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“The plan for the subway line envisions a north zone that will extend to Bulacan and a south zone that will extend to Cavite. I am confident that the succeeding administrations will get this done,” Dominguez added.

The 30-kilometer underground railroad will run between Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport across 14 stations, with the possible extension of one to two more stations being planned by the Department of Transportation, according to Dominguez.

“The project includes a depot in Valenzuela, electro-mechanical systems and rolling stock, and the establishment of a Philippine Railway Institute. The institute will provide training as well as do research and development on regulation, train operations and maintenance. This will build a corps of expert train personnel to manage not only the subway system but all the commuter rail lines of the country. It is about time that our commuter lines be run by real experts,” Dominguez said.

The detailed engineering design for the subway, which is being funded under a Jica grant, is currently ongoing. The design includes flood management features and applies the best seismic technology available. “We will acquire tunnel boring equipment to hasten the construction period. The Philippine government commits to working on this project ‘25/8’ to get it done at the soonest possible time,” Dominguez added.

For his part, new Jica Philippines chief representative Yoshio Wada said that the Japanese aid agency offered its support to the construction of the subway project so the Philippines could sustain its growth trajectory and improve the quality of life of many Filipinos through seamless mobility and connectivity.

Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John R. Batan told a press conference that since the right-of-way for the project would be mostly subterranean, these would be easier to acquire compared with at-grade or elevated infrastructure projects. —BEN O. DE VERA

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