The “pipe dream” is now a reality. The Metro Manila Subway, the Philippines’ first underground railway system, officially broke ground today, 27 February 2019, in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City.
The Metro Manila Subway is among the most ambitious and monumental infrastructure projects under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” Program.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea led the groundbreaking ceremony, together with Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, and Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.
“When we announced that we are doing the Subway, many sectors did not believe. Sabi nila, ‘Subway station? Drawing lang ‘yan. Hindi totoo ‘yan.’ Sa mga nagduda, ang Subway Station po ay totoo. Sa mga naniniwala, pabaunan niyo po kami ng tiwala at dasal. Ito ang magbibigay sa ating mga Pilipino ng comfortable life,” Secretary Tugade said.
To signify the start of the project, Executive Secretary Medialdea, Ambassador Haneda, Secretary Tugade, members of the Cabinet, and local government officials led the unveiling of the scale model of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), along with the ceremonial shoveling of the ground where the subway’s depot will stand.
Additionally, Executive Secretary Medialdea and Ambassador Haneda simulated the construction of the subway through the operation of a backhoe machine.
“We believe in a fast and sure approach and the efficient delivery of public service. Matagal nang deprived ang mga Pilipino sa ganitong mass transport system. We will deliver this to the Filipino people as fast as we can, as well as we can, and without any whiff of corruption,” Executive Secretary Medialdea said.
To mitigate the social impact of the subway construction, the DOTr, in collaboration with the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), National Housing Authority (NHA) and the City Government of Valenzuela, awarded certificates of entitlement to affected Informal Settler Families (ISFs) for their relocation to Disiplina Village II, Barangay Bignay also in Valenzuela City
Secretary Tugade presented the certificates to 20 out of 183 beneficiary families. The remaining 163 families are undergoing pre-qualification process.
Partial Operability by 2022
The country’s first-ever subway system is a massive undertaking, spanning 15 stations from Quirino Highway in Quezon City to NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay and FTI in Taguig, all connected through a 36-kilometer rail line.
Set to run at 80 kilometers per hour, the Subway will cross seven local governments and pass through three of Metro Manila’s business districts in just 30 minutes.
Guided by Japan’s expertise in railways, the Metro Manila Subway will feature technological advancements and disaster-resilient strategies aimed to boost the Subway’s structural integrity amid regular occurrence of typhoons and earthquakes.
The Metro Manila Subway is set to commence partial operations by 2022 for its first three stations (Quirino Highway – Mindanao Avenue Station, Tandang Sora Station, and North Avenue Station), while the entire rail line will be fully operational by 2025.
The pioneering underground rail line is expected to serve 370,000 passengers daily in its first year of full operations, with a design capacity that can accommodate up to 1.5 million passengers per day.
Just last week, the DOTr signed the contract for the design and build of the Partial Operability Section with the Joint Venture of Shimizu Corporation, Fujita Corporation, Takenaka Civil Engineering Co., Ltd., and EEI Corporation.
The Partial Operability Section is comprised of the first three stations, the depot in Valenzuela, and structures for the Philippine Railway Institute (PRI) that will be the primary policy-making body for the Subway.
“Nang nakita namin ang kultura ng mga taga-Japan, sabi ko, magkakaroon din tayo ng Philippine Railway Institute, sapagkat ‘yung pagbuo ng PRI ay dapat may kaakibat na training, skills, talent, at culture of belonging and love for the job,” Secretary Tugade expressed.
DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, in his message, said that each subway station will feature an intermodal facility that will make transfers to and from road-based transport seamless and convenient.
Further, the Metro Manila Subway will be connected with other major rail lines such as the PNR Clark, PNR Calamba, and the Common Station to ensure interconnectivity, intermodality, and interoperability.
Build, Build, Build Partnership
The construction of the Metro Manila Subway is a collaborative effort with the Government of Japan through a PhP365-billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“We support the Philippines in shifting the ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program to higher gear. With cutting-edge technology, the Philippines can count on Japan’s extensive experience in railway operations. Together, there is no stopping Japan and the Philippines in achieving more,” Ambassador Haneda said.
Also present in today’s groundbreaking ceremony were Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, National Economic and Development Authority Director-General and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Senator JV Ejercito, JICA Philippines Chief Representative Yoshio Wada, Philippine National Railways (PNR) General Manager Junn Magno, Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian, representatives of the Shimizu-Fujita-Takenaka-EEI Joint Venture, and other officials from the public and private sectors.
27 February 2019