A subway line is being considered by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to connect the business districts of Metro Manila.
Transportation Undersecretary Noel Kintanar on Wednesday said they have submitted an "ambitious plan" to Secretary Arthur Tugade to have rail transport as the alternative to cars.
The plan includes suggestions for a subterranean railway.
"Many people are skeptical because it’s expensive. But we have to understand—[to] connect the business districts, we are going through a very built-up environment," he said on [email protected]
Building elevated railways or on-ground would "bring the city to a stop," said Kintanar, so they plan to use tunnel-boring machines so that "life goes on in the surface."
He said the plan is to have a "Line 5" subway run through, Pasay, Makati, and Taguig. Kintanar wants it connected up to Ortigas in Pasig.
Kintanar said they are setting their eyes on a wider network of trains to solve the traffic situation in Metro Manila.
Apart from Line 5, they are also hoping to have a Line 4 that will run through the eastern side of Metro Manila.
Line 6, meanwhile, will run up to Dasmariñas, Cavite, and Line 7, which is now under construction, will run from Commonwealth in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
These four new lines, along with the three currently present in the metro, said Kintanar, is already a "massive build of the network," and there is also the Philippine National Railways (PNR) line that runs from northern to southern Luzon.
He admitted that funding the project is daunting, and the transportation department is already in talks with multilateral institutions on financing strategies to fund the subway line.
"We're working with IFC (International Finance Corporation) and the Asian Development Bank to figure out what kind of appropriate infrastructure bond or borrowings we can make as a country so that we can fund this," he said.
Kintanar said the traffic congestion in Metro Manila is the result of the country's failure to invest enough in mass transit.
Their railway proposal, he said, is a legacy project.
The private sector comes in the form of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to address the "weak absorptive capacity" of the government, according to Kintanar.
"The PPP is not the financing strategy for mass transit. It is getting private sector’s expertise into the project so that they build on time and on budget," he said.
"The private sector is much more adept in getting projects done on time. Why? If they don’t, they’re under extreme pressure financially," he said.