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PHL-Japan to start designing Mega Manila Subway in Nov.

Japan and the Philippines will start designing the P227-billion Mega Manila Subway in November, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said on Thursday.

"The subway I think is going to be the project of the century for the Philippines. Designing of that will be in November when Prime Minister Abe will come for the ASEAN Summit," he said in a press conference in Quezon City.

The project details will be discussed during the next National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board meeting next month.

"The NEDA Board is likely to happen in September, early September," Pernia said.

"In the next NEDA Board meeting, that subway will be taken up already," he added, noting that the government is finalizing all the documents required for a contract signing before Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in the Philippines for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministers meeting in November.

"'Yan ay sigurado, kasi talagang pine-prepare natin para ma-sign. Whatever the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of the Philippines sign, it will be it. Those are the main signatures," he said.

The subway was one of the rail projects Filipino and Japanese officials agreed to tackle during a meeting in Tokyo last March.

There was a draft feasibility study for the project, NEDA Deputy Director General Rolando G. Tungpalan said in June.

The P227-billion Mega Manila Subway was introduced as the Mass Transit System Loop or the Light Rail Transit Line 5 under the administration of former President Benigno S.C Aquino III.

It will be a 25-kilometer underground mass rail system connecting major business districts and government centers. It is expected to serve 370,000 passengers per day in its opening year.

The subway train line is expected to be completed in 2024, said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. — VDS, GMA News