DOTr targets Metro Manila Subway groundbreaking by December 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation officials are fast-tracking the selection of a contractor for the groundbreaking of the multibillion-peso Metro Manila Subway in December.

Railways Undersecretary Timothy John Batan said on Wednesday, October 31, that the awarding of contracts for the partial operations of the initial 3 subway stations, its depot, and the Philippine Railway Institute should be done by November.

"'Yung ating pag-procure ng contractor for the partial operability section ng 3 stations, kasama 'yung depot, and 'yung Philippine Railway Institute, nakatakda ma-award ngayong Nobyembre. Kaya nakalatag na ang groundbreaking as soon as maka-comply," Batan told reporters in a briefing.

(The procurement of a contractor for the partial operability section of 3 stations, including the depot, and the Philippine Railway Institute is scheduled to be awarded this November. That's why groundbreaking will be set as soon as we comply.)

Funded by a ¥104.53-billion (P49.45-billion) loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the planned subway will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

The first 3 stations to be constructed will be Mindanao Avenue, Tandang Sora, and North Avenue.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the target for groundbreaking is in December, but if the delivery of construction equipment would be delayed, it would be pushed to January next year instead.

"Napagkasunduan namin na talagang gusto namin mag-groundbreaking sa Disyembre. Ito ho ang target namin. Kung hindi mangyayari 'yung iniisip naming gagawin gaya no'ng pagdala ng mga tinatawag na boring machine, baka ipagpaliban sa Enero," Tugade said.

(We agreed that we really want to hold the groundbreaking in December. That's our target. If what we're eyeing won't happen, like if the boring machines wouldn't arrive, maybe we'll postpone the groundbreaking to January.)

Tugade also said construction would begin by 2019. The Department of Transportation's target completion for the entire subway project is by 2025.

The project is part of the Mega Manila Dream Plan, a transport network roadmap by JICA.

The plan outlined a program toward 2030 for sustainable development for Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon that would require P2.61 trillion in investment. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.