Traffic Problem Solution? P378-Billion First Metro Manila Subway Project to Start Soon

First Philippine Metro Manila Subway map

First Metro Manila Subway map
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The proposed first Metro Manila Subway system, which aims to solve the traffic in Metro Manila, is expected to start soon. This P378-billion project was earlier proposed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC).

“Finally, the dream of the Philippines of having a subway system is now one step closer to reality.” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya excitedly told reporters on Friday, noting that all the private establishment owners that will be affected have already gave way for the project.

“We are now in process of creating a plan to attract bidders for the project. We only wish that they will be no more distractions in the future.” Abaya added, emphasizing the bidding will be open to the public to avoid allegations of corruption. The start of the construction of the subway is being set in mid 2016.

Also called the Makati Pasay Taguig Mass Transit System Loop (MTSL), this 12-km Metro Manila Subway plans to connect Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Makati Central Business District, and the Mall of Asia area in Pasay City. According to Public-Private Partnership (PPP), this first subway in the Philippines shall cost P378.33 billion (around $8.59 billion).

Back in June 2014, upon the request of NEDA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) released a video presentation of their road study on how to reduce the traffic congestion in Metro Manila and nearby areas. This is when the idea of making a subway system came about.

Besides being a concrete solution to Metro Manila traffic, the road study also aims to remove people living in highly hazardous areas, eliminate the barrier for seamless mobility, reduce fare of public transportation, and eradicate air pollution within the covered areas.

The same Japanese aid company announced in 2012 that Philippines lost P2.4 billion every day because of the worst traffic congestion in Metro Manila. The country is also being projected to lose P6 billion a day by 2030 if this problem will not be solved immediately.

Aside from the proposed subway in Metro Manila, other projects in the “Dream Plan” include expansion of main roads in Metro Manila; a 426-km intercity expressway; a 78-km urban expressway; and the 91-km elevated North-South Commuter Rail which aims to connect Malolos in Bulacan and Calamba in Laguna.

But while the Metro Manila Subway seems to be a long-term solution to solve traffic, not everyone agree that this is a doable project. Among those who have doubts is former Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño, who emphasized that Metro Manila has no effective drainage system.

“Bakit hindi yung baha sa Metro Manila ang unahin ng gobyerno? Pano ka maghuhukay para sa subway, kung ngayon pa lang, ambon pa lang, binabaha na tayo? At pano naman yung mga mahihirap nating kababayan sa mga squatters na maapektuhan? Saan nyo sila ililipat?” Casiño asks.

(Why doesn’t the government solve first the flood problem in Metro Manila? How can they dig for the subway if even rain shower already causes flood? And how about our poor countrymen living in squatters’ area that will be affected? Where will you relocate them?)

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