Saturday, June 17, 2017

Philippines' First Subway System Gets Underway

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The Metro Manila Subway Project may be an ambitious undertaking, but it is moving forward.

At the seventh Steering Committee Meeting presided by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade last week, partners from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) presented updates on the Feasibility Study being conducted on the Metro Manila Subway Project.

Among the issues discussed were timelines, alignment, and organizational arrangements. Sec. Tugade reiterated his directive that he wants the project to be operational before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

“I don’t want bola-bola. I want this project finished,” Tugade said.

Apart from fast-tracking the project, he also proposed for the subway to extend all the way to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

"I need to have that connectivity. I have a big problem with NAIA because of the projected increase in volume of passengers," he said.

The subway alignment originally has 13 stations, starting from Mindanao Avenue and ending at FTI Taguig. This is seen to cut travel time from Quezon City to Taguig to just 31 minutes.

Sec. Tugade also proposed a training facility for railway operators to which JICA responded positively. JICA also presented possible organizational arrangements to ensure that the subway will be constructed, operated, and maintained by a competent and dedicated team of certified operators and experts.

Apart from a world-class design, the proposed 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.

At the end of the meeting, a minutes of discussion was signed by Sec. Tugade and JICA.

Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Danny Lim, representatives from the National Economic Development Authority, and officials of the Embassy of Japan were also present at the signing.

President Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to sign a loan agreement for the Mega Manila Subway Project during the latter’s visit to the Philippines in November.

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