MANILA— Passengers going to and from the airport would find it easier to move around the city once the proposed Metro Manila Subway system extension from Quezon City to the country’s main gateway the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is built soon.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said aside from ease of mobility, the expansion would also promote greater connectivity and improve passenger comfort and convenience.
Tugade made the statement following the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approval of the extension of the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP)-Phase 1 from Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) in Taguig City to NAIA and its increased cost from PHP227 billion to PHP355.6 billion.
The subway, which will start in Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City, was previously going to end in FTI. However, Tugade, along with other economic managers, pushed to have a spur line extending the subway to NAIA to make it easier for airport passengers to get to their destination in Metro Manila.
“In most of our neighboring countries in Asia, you can reach the city without ever going to the platform. So, economic managers thought we’re going to build a subway anyway, so why not push it to extend up to NAIA? It just makes perfect sense. The extension will mean greater connectivity and improved passenger comfort and convenience,” Tugade said.
MMSP, the country’s first subway system from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the airport in Paranaque City is subject to final approval by the NEDA Board, which is headed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The MMSP I also involves the construction of a 28-hectare training center and depot, as well as and other related facilities. Implementation period is from 2018 to mid-2025.
Groundbreaking for the railway project is expected by fourth quarter of 2018 with its completion on 2025.
However, Tugade has requested its partners from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to expedite the project for the public to avail of the benefits of a subway system in Metro Manila.
“We have consistently asked our Japanese partners to expedite the project. They are experts in tunneling technology and I’m sure they can deliver ahead of schedule. But of course, we can never compromise the quality and integrity of the project,” he said.
The subway system will have water stop panels, doors and high level entrance for floor prevention, earthquake detection, and a train stop similar to those in Tokyo.
In an earlier interview with the Philippine News Agency, Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez stated that the department is eyeing to operate five stations of the Mega Manila Subway System by the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.
The subway system is envisioned to be an underground mass transportation system connecting major business districts and government centers which is expected to serve 370,000 passengers daily in its opening year.
The country’s first subway system will cost USD7 billion and will be financed through Official Development Assistance. The loan will have an interest of 10 percent per annum payable in 40 years with a grace period of 12 years.
The agreement is expected to be signed in November when Pres. Duterte meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.