Mega Manila Subway to start construction next year – NEDA

By Czeriza Valencia

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NEDA said its board agreed with the recommendation of the Investment Coordination Cabinet Committee (ICC-Cabcom) to extend the subway to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and hasten the completion of the project even if it entails higher cost. File

MANILA, Philippines — The board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has approved the first phase of the Japan-funded Mega Manila Subway Project scheduled to begin construction next year.

NEDA said its board agreed with the recommendation of the Investment Coordination Cabinet Committee (ICC-Cabcom) to extend the subway to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and hasten the completion of the project even if it entails higher cost.

The first phase of the subway has an estimated initial investment requirement of P355.588 billion, up from the original cost assumption of P227 billion. It will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City through FTI in Taguig and end at NAIA in Parañaque City.

This project will be financed by official development assistance (loan) coursed through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which will bear an interest rate of 0.10 percent per annum payable in 40 years, with a grace period of 12 years.

Construction is slated next year, with partial operations scheduled in 2022 and full operations by 2025.

Having the subway will decongest traffic on EDSA and connect major business centers in Metro Manila to the premiere international gateway, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA director general Ernesto Pernia said.

“The MMSP (Mega Manila Subway Project) will significantly improve Metro Manila’s transportation system, air quality and productivity, thereby reducing the P2.4-billion economic loss the country incurs daily due to heavy traffic,” he said.

Also approved in the board meeting late Tuesday are four new flagship projects, bringing the total number of approved projects to 35 valued at $1.2 trillion.

These projects include: Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project, which would be handled by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). This project worth P21.19 billion will be financed through a loan from Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB). This involves upgrading seven roads and the widening a 40-kilometer road segment with slope protection. Construction is set to begin late this year and end in the fourth quarter of 2020. The three Tawi-Tawi bridges under the project was likewise conditionally approved.

The Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridges Construction Project, also to be undertaken by the DPWH, are worth a total P5.97 billion. The Binondo-Intramuros Bridge involves the construction of a new four-lane bridge and viaduct. The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, meanwhile, involves the replacement of the existing two-lane bridge with a four-lane bridge and widening of the approach roads. Construction of the bridges is set to begin in the fourth quarter this year and end in the fourth quarter of 2020, financed with grants from China.

The Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is valued at P3.5 billion. The project involves the development of a 12,650 hectare service area that will benefit 10,372 farmers in seven municipalities in Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac. It will be funded by the national government and will be implemented from January 2018 to December 2021.

The Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility of the Department of Finance will directly support the DPWH and Department of Transportation (DOTr) in delivering more effective and innovative infrastructure projects by accelerating the approval process and ensuring the timely, high-quality procurement and implementation of projects.

“The approval and eventual completion of these projects will pave the way for us to achieve our mid-term and long-term goals as a country and a nation,” said Pernia.

The highest policy-making and coordinating body of the executive branch also approved changes to previously approved projects.

The NEDA board fixed the project cost for the Philippine National Railway-South Line of the DOTr to P299.4 billion, to be funded by ODA. The project is envisioned to be the transportation backbone of Southern Luzon and is expected to improve the connectivity of major airports and seaports. The South Line consists of a commuter line and long haul. The 72-kilometer commuter line will have 23 stations from Solis-Hermosa in Manila to Los Baños in Laguna. The long haul line, meanwhile, will run from Laguna to Bicol.

The board likewise extended the ADB loan validity for the Road Improvement and Institutional Development Project by the DPWH up to Dec. 30, 2019.

The cost for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project of the DOTr was also raised to P16.30 billion from P10.61 billion due to changes in land valuation following the enactment of the Right of Way Act and foreign exchange rate differentials.

The change in mode of implementation for the Clark International Airport Expansion Project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, to the build-transfer scheme was also approved.

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