Japan Will Finally Help Manila Having its First Subway Line

Philippines, Manila, public transport

Japan will finally help Manila having its first underground line. It is expected to be completed by 2025, according to Japanese authorities.

Manila suffocates under permanent traffic jam and little has been done so far to relieve the metropolis from its chronicle congestion. Public transport is quasi-inexistant with only three LRT lines, built some 30 years ago and are regularly subject to technical problems as they have not been maintained since their consttruction.

It is certainly a relief for Manila population to learn that the Philippines and Japan signed on Friday a P51.3-billion (US$1 billion) loan agreement for the construction of the first Metro Manila subway.

With a length of 30 km, the future line is expected to ease traffic gridlock in the capital. Total investment however is estimated to reach US7 billion (P356.96 billion) but Japan loan is likely to attract further financial assistance from outside. In total, Japan is ready to finance US$5.1 billion (P259.6 billion) split in three to four funding tranches. The loan is the biggest amount committed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to a single country.

The subway project comprises 14 to 16 stations and is expected to be completed in 2025 but a very small protion (three to four stations) could go into service by 2022. Once completed, Manila first metro line would connect Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Quezon City. It could then be further expanded to Bulacan and Cavite, north and south of Metro Manila.

A recent study by JICA revealed that traffic cost in the Philippines has worsened to P3.5 billion a day in 2017. The Metro project is part of the Duterte administration plan to invest into transportation and infrastructure to help economic development. “The timely completion of the subway project will crown the aggressive infrastructure program the administration of President [Rodrigo] Duterte has initiated,” Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.The modernisation plan for the infrastructure is estimated to cost US$157 billion (P8-trillion) in total.