• Kabayan Magazine

METRO MANILA SUBWAY: Trailing Connectivity from North to South

VOL. 1 NO.2 MAY 2019

BY: MARIA CARMELA GALAPON

Metro Manila serves as the central business district inhabiting a jaw-dropping estimate of 13-million Filipinos. With the constant population growth in the city, many have grown doubtful in the reliability and serviceability of the existing transportation vehicles - buses overload with passengers, train stations harbor kilometric queues, and jeepneys fail to offer comfortable seating accommodation. On top of this all, the street of Metro Manila are jammed with both public and private vehicles.


The Department of Transportation (DOTr), the prime government office that handles the policy-making, implementation, and regulation of the country's transportation nexus, promises to provide the metropolis with a world-class transit system with the inauguration of the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP). The groundbreaking ceremony, launching the beginning of construction, was held late February 2019 in Valenzuela City with DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, along with Japanese partners, leading the event.


The MMSP pursues the installation of the Philippine's first underground railway system, running a 36-kilometer rail with a speed of 80 kilometers per hour from Minadano Avenue- Quirino Highway in Quezon City to Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City, decreasing travel time to only 30 minutes. Beginning from Mindanao Avenue, the proposed stations would follow on Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, Katipunan, Ortigas North, Ortigas South, Kalayaan Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Cayetano Boulevard, the Food Terminal Inc. Complex and NAIA Terminal 3.


The Metro Manila Subway was first proposed in 2015 under National Economic Department Authority's (NEDA) Metro Manila Dream Plan, which aimed to ease the overall commute system in the Greater Capital Region (GCR) tackling solutions for increasing efficiency in road networks, ports, gateway airports, and public transport.

The agreement was first signed in March 2018 inducing the first fragment of the loan amounting to ¥104.53-billion (P49.45-billion) from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that would cover the expenses for the kick-off of the construction. The cost estimate for the whole project amounts to P365 billion. JICA will fund 73% (¥573.73 billion or P272.38 billion) of the total project cost; the residual 27% (¥215.16 billion or P102.14 billion) will be financed by the Philippine government. At press time, computations of Japanese Yen to Philippine Peso are based on current exchange rates.


With JICA's technical assistance, the MMSP will be equipped with Japan's advanced machineries that will gear the construction for flood management and earthquake protection. The project will also cater to multiple job opportunities for the locals with Japan's support to employ Filipino personnel to be trained in railway operation, management and maintenance.


The MMSP aims to decongest the traffic in Metro Manila by shifting away from the use of road-based transport and support the existing railways in the Metropolis. with the rapid increase of population of 3-4% per year and expansion of urban development in the neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite (BRLC), the project hopes to connect the city's northern and southern suburban poles. It envisions synergetic progress in the GCR consisting of Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON being the local for leisure activities and source of manpower.


Portions of the subway are expected to run by 2022 with three stations operating: Mindanao Avenue-Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, and North Avenue . Full operation is anticipated by 2025. NEDA's Metro Manila Dream Plan hopes that by 2030, there will be a 20% ridership in the railway system and a 4% decrease in road traffic. The completion of the subway project is targeted to also address 41% of the total travel demand.


A Unified Grand Central Station is eyed to connect the planned Metro Manila Subway to the Light Rail Transit 1 and Metro Rail Transits 3 and 7 along EDSA, offering effortless transition and connectivity from one train line to another, and improving the commuter experience in the city. [K]


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