The Metro Manila Subway Project (formerly Mega Manila Subway Project) has made another progress since its approval in 2017—the project is finally set to break ground in the fourth quarter of 2018. The announcement was first made by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade at the Philippine Economic Briefing 2018 aired earlier today via the Philippine Embassy in Japan Facebook page, being held in Tokyo, Japan.

Last 12 September 2017, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) of the DOTr, alongside four new “flagship” projects under the current administration’s “Build, Build, Build” Program.

The first phase of DOTr’s MMSP, with an estimated initial investment requirement of PhP355.588 billion, will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to FTI in Taguig and terminate at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City. The subway project is envisioned to accommodate 370,000 riders a day, and supplement the existing train systems in metro, which are running over capacity.

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Metro Manila Subway Project concept via
Metro Manila Subway Project concept render via

Last 16 March 2018, the Philippines and Japan signed the 104.53 billion yen loan agreement—with the loan earning an interest rate of 0.10 percent per annum payable in 40 years—for the construction of the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project, the Philippines’ first-ever underground rail system.

This 104.53 billion yen loan (approximately $934.75 million) represents the first tranche of the total loan financing requirement of 573.73 billion yen (approximately $5.31 billion or P259.6 billion) pledged by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the 1st phase of the subway project, which is the biggest amount it has ever committed to any country, according to a report by the Department of Finance last 17 June 2018.

In one of the earliest reports by NEDA on the subway project, NEDA Director-General Ernesto M. Pernia said, “The MMSP’s first phase will significantly improve Metro Manila’s transportation system, air quality, and productivity, thereby reducing the PhP2.4 billion economic loss the country incurs daily due to heavy traffic.”

The Metro Manila Subway Project is expected to be partially operational by 2020 and fully operational by 2025. 

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