February 27th saw groundbreaking commence in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City on the first stage of US$4.5bn Metro Manila Subway, the Philippines’ first underground railway system. At 36km long, with 15 stations from Quirino Highway in Quezon City to NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay and FTI in Taguig, 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.
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.
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 and tunnels, the depot in Valenzuela, and structures for the Philippine Railway Institute (PRI) that will be the primary policy-making body for the Subway.
The construction of the Metro Manila Subway is a collaborative effort with the Government of Japan through a US£985M 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.
In preparation for the construction of the subway, officials from the DOTr led by Secretary Arthur Tugade, last week inspected the project’s 6.9m diameter TBMs in Japan, at the JIMT Tsurumi Factory in the city of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, and at the Hitachi Zosen Factory in Sakai City.