The country’s main gateway will soon be connected directly to the city via underground railway after the National Economic Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) approved the Metro Manila Subway Project with an extension to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The subway, which will start in Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City, was previously going to end in FTI in Parañaque City. However, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, along with other economic managers, pushed to have a spur line extending the subway to NAIA to make it easier for airport passengers to get to their destination in Metro Manila.
“In most of our neighboring countries in Asia, you can reach the city without ever leaving the platform. So, economic managers thought we’re going to build a subway anyway, so why not push to extend it to NAIA? It just makes perfect sense. The extension will mean greater connectivity and improved passenger comfort and convenience,” said Tugade.
The timetable for the subway is still being finalized, with the goal of earlier completion. Groundbreaking is currently scheduled in Q4 of 2018 while target completion is 2025. Secretary Tugade, however, is asking partners from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to expedite the project to allow the public to enjoy the benefits of a subway system earlier.
“We have consistently asked our Japanese partners to expedite the project. They are experts in tunneling technology, and I’m sure they can deliver ahead of schedule. But, of course, we can never compromise the quality and integrity of the project,” he said.
Apart from a world-class design, the subway system will have water-stop panels, doors, and high-level entrance for flood prevention, earthquake detection, and a train stop system just like the subways in Tokyo.
The country’s first subway system will cost $7 billion and will be financed via Official Development Assistance. The loan will have an interest of 0.10% per annum payable in 40 years with a grace period of 12 years.
The signing of the loan agreement is expected in November when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with President Rodrigo Duterte during the ASEAN Summit.