Some are doubtful that the Philippines could have its own subway system.
But the Department of Transportation (DoTr) is confident that Filipinos could finally board the country’s first underground train line by year-end.
During the special episode of Daily Tribune’s “Straight Talk”, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade bared that the P355-billion Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) will partially operate to serve commuters before the year ends.
“Hangarin namin na ang partial operability ay mangyari ngayong 2021 kung saan tatlong istasyon ang unang bubuksan,” Tugade said.
Under the first phase of the project, the DoTr will initially open three stations: East Valenzuela Station, Mindanao Avenue Station, and North Avenue Station.
The transportation agency began with the clearing works and fencing activities in Valenzuela City and Quezon City in December 2019.
Despite delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tugade said the DoTr catches up by ensuring round-the-clock construction.
Tugade assured that tunneling works for the MMSP have already started.
Another tunnel boring machine, a significant component of the project construction, is expected to arrive on 5 February.
The government broke ground on the first three stations in February 2019 after the Transportation department signed a P51-billion deal with the Shimizu joint venture, which consists of Shimizu Corp., Fujita Corp., Takenaka Civil Engineering Co. Ltd., and EEI Corp.
Dubbed as the “Project of the Century,” the underground rail line is expected to serve 370,000 passengers daily in its first year of full operations.
Once completed and fully operational, the project will have 15 stations, including a terminal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
It will be financed through the so-called official development assistance from Japan, with an interest of 0.10 percent per annum, payable in 40 years, inclusive of a grace period of 12 years.
Japan International Cooperation Agency already signed a loan agreement with the Philippine government to provide a loan of up to 104.53 billion yen for the first phase of the project.