MANILA — The construction of the Metro Manila subway, the biggest project under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, will begin this year, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said Wednesday.
Tugade said the original start of the subway project is in 2019 but “this was expedited upon the agreement of the parties”.
Last March, the Philippine and Japan governments signed a loan agreement for the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) with the initial tranche amounting to JPY104.53 billion (USD935 million).
“We are still on track. We are starting the groundbreaking and formal construction by the end of the year,” Tugade said in a Palace press briefing.
Tugade said the construction will start at partial operability covering three stations — North Avenue, Mindanao Avenue and Tandang Sora.
“This includes the construction of what we called the Railway Institute and depot in Valenzuela. All of this we are planning to start not later than December of the last quarter of this year,” he said.
During the signing of the loan agreement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said Phase 1 of the 25-kilometer underground railway has an estimated cost of PHP356.96 billion (USD7.05 billion) and will have a total of 14 stations from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Paranaque City.
He said the initial operation of the MMSP is targeted to start by 2022 while the full operation of the Phase 1 has been set for 2025.
Meanwhile, Tugade said the actual bidding for the construction of the Mindanao Railway will have a slight delay due to some changes he introduced in the project.
Tugade said the specifications of the Mindanao railway project should be the same with the railways in Central Luzon, where railways are double track, electric, not diesel-powered and should not be narrow standard.
“Having done this, there will be additional cost in Mindanao but that is a good addition. There will be slight delay but that is a good delay because the quality of the railroad track will be like in Central Luzon,” he explained.
Tugade said the groundbreaking of the Mindanao Railway project will depend on the signing of the loan agreement between the Philippines and China.