Metro Manila Subway: A Leap Towards Efficient Mass Transportation and Economic Growth

Photo credit: South East Asia Infra

Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto initiated a series of worksite visits to various projects funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA), beginning with the Metro Manila Subway on February 26, 2024.

During a press briefing held at the East Valenzuela Depot, a sprawling 30-hectare facility earmarked for the maintenance of subway train sets, Secretary Recto emphasized the importance of diligent oversight in the execution of ODA-funded projects.

“This is the start of a series of visits aimed at ensuring that our projects with our international partners are progressing efficiently for the Filipino people,” he said.

The Metro Manila Subway Project, heralded as the country’s first underground mass transport system, represents the third largest initiative under President Marcos Jr.’s Build Better More program.

Spanning a 33-kilometer railway with 17 stations, it promises to connect Valenzuela City to Pasay City, including a branch line to NAIA Terminal 3. Slated for completion in 2029, it is expected to significantly cut travel time from Valenzuela to NAIA from 1.5 hours to just 35 minutes, serving up to 519,000 passengers daily at full capacity.

With an estimated cost of PHP 488.5 billion, the project is a testament to the collaborative effort between the Philippine government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), showcasing a sophisticated financing model tailored for large-scale infrastructural endeavors.

Secretary Recto’s announcement about the imminent finalization of the third tranche of ODA financing by March 2024 further solidifies the government’s resolve in pushing the project to fruition.

He also highlighted the economic urgency of addressing Metro Manila’s traffic woes, citing a JICA study that pegs the daily cost of congestion at PHP 3.5 billion, a figure projected to escalate if unaddressed.

The Metro Manila Subway is not just an infrastructure project but a pivotal move towards economic sustainability, expected to alleviate the metro’s congestion issues significantly. By incorporating advanced Japanese technology, the subway design is primed for resilience against natural disasters, ensuring its longevity and sustainability.

The project has garnered support from various sectors, including Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista and JICA Philippines’ Chief Representative Sakamoto Takema, who have expressed unwavering commitment to expedite its completion. The unified stance of the government and its international partners paints a promising picture of a future where Filipinos can enjoy a more efficient, reliable, and sustainable mass transportation system.