MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said he was looking forward to "better days" for the country's public transport system as the Metro Manila Subway Project continued construction.
Marcos Jr. was at the project's depot in Valenzuela City to lead the launch of its tunnel boring machine, which will be used to construct the underground subway.
In his keynote speech, Marcos described the Metro Manila Subway Project's construction as a "landmark event," being the first such project in the Philippines.
"With the launching of the tunnel boring machine of the Metro Manila’s Subway Project today, this is a very apt beginning for a year with renewed vigor and commitment to our mission to improve the lives of Filipinos," he said.
He also thanked the Japanese government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for its support on the project and the country's infrastructure program.
JICA finances the Metro Manila Subway Project through loan agreements PH-275 and PH-267, with an approved project cost of more than P488 billion.
"This tunnel boring machine highlights Japan’s expertise and technology and trailblazing contributions in the modern world and thus I am confident that they will help us shape our railway infrastructure and keep them at par with the highest international standards," Marcos said.
He also called on the Filipino and Japanese companies working on the project to continue their commitment with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) until its expected completion in 2027.
The President also asked the riding public for their "continued patience, trust, and support" for the government, as big-ticket projects like the Metro Manila Subway Project "take years to be completed."
"Let the launching of this tunnel boring machine become a testament to this administration’s commitment to continue to projects of the previous administration and more importantly build better more," he said.
"We will continue to invest and improve on our transportation system as well as to pursue more projects in the years to come so that Filipinos can gain greater access to places of work, commerce, recreation and other vital areas. Having an effective and efficient transportation system will have multiplier effects on employment, the economy, our society, it will bring comfort, convenience, an easier life for all," Marcos added.
According to DOTr, the tunnel boring machine—dubbed "Kaunlaran"—is one of 5 such machines that will be used for the Metro Manila Subway Project.
"Kaunlaran" arrived in the country from Japan in 2021 and will be used to create tunnels with a total length of 1,508 meters, spanning from the subway's depot to its first two stations East Valenzuela and Quirino Highway. Two months from Kaunlaran's initial launch on Monday, a second tunnel boring machine is also slated to begin operations.
The third and fourth machines are expected to arrive by the second quarter of this year, while the fourth and fifth machines are scheduled to arrive by 2024.
ANC, ANC promo, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Metro Manila Subway Project, public transport