Metro Manila Subway breaks ground

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2019 10:53 AM | Updated as of Feb 27 2019 11:58 AM

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade joins Japanese Ambassador H. E. Koji Haneda and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea during the ground breaking ceremonies for the Metro Manila Subway Project in Valenzuela City, Wednesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Officials on Wednesday broke ground on the Metro Manila subway, the country's first underground rail system that is among the flagship projects under President Rodrigo Duterte's P8 trillion infrastructure program.

The 36-kilometer subway will stretch from Valenzuela on the capital's northern end to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, promising as fast as 30 minutes of travel time from end to end, the Department of Transportation said.

The government earlier said it hoped to open the first 3 stations in Valenzuela, Tandang Sora and North Avenue before Duterte's term ends in 2022.

"Inaugurating and groundbreaking is one thing, finishing it is another. We will finish this in 2022. Sabi nga sa Ingles, I will be watching you... This is what we want to achieve. Sa mga nagdududa, maniwala kayo," said Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Duterte government would finish the subway project "as fast as we can, as well as we can and without any whiff of corruption."

The subway spans 7 cities and municipalities and 3 business districts. A joint venture including Shimizu Corp, Fujita Corp and Takenaka Civil Engineering Co of Japan and EEI Corp from the Philippines was tapped to design and build the first 3 stations, the DOTr said.

It will connect to the MRT-3, the LRT-2 and the Philippine National Railway lines, according to Transportation Usec for railways Timothy Batan.

The Metro Manila Subway will leverage on Japanese technology to make the structure flood and earthquake-proof, the DOTr said.

A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency estimated daily economic losses in Metro Manila due to traffic had risen to P3.5 billion.

Last November, the government opened the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, an airport-style structure that serves as a hub for buses and jeepney in the south of the capital.