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NEDA approves P355.6-billion Manila subway project

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved the P355.6-billion Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP I).

The project will be constructed starting next year and is expected to be completed in 2025.

“The first phase of the MMSP will not only ease traffic in Metro Manila but also improve the quality of life of Filipinos," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said on Wednesday.

"For one, carbon emissions will be reduced. And, with greater mobility, people can spend more time on things that matter to them,” the Cabinet official noted.

The 25-kilometer subway will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)in Parañaque City.

The subway was originally envisioned to end at the former Food Terminal in Parañaque City, but Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade and other economic managers decided to have the other end at the NAIA.

“In most of our neighboring countries in Asia, you can reach the city without ever leaving the platform. So, economic managers thought we’re going to build a subway anyway, so why not push to extend it to NAIA? It just makes perfect sense. The extension will mean greater connectivity and improved passenger comfort and convenience,” Tugade said in a separate statement.

The project, also dubbed as the Mega Manila Subway, was earlier estimated to cost P227 billion and be completed in 2014. The approved version would include the construction of a 28-hectare training center and depot and other related facilities.

“We have consistently asked our Japanese partners to expedite the project. They are experts in tunneling technology, and I’m sure they can deliver ahead of schedule. But, of course, we can never compromise the quality and integrity of the project,” Tugade said.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is financing the project with $7 billion of official development assistance, carrying an interest rate of 0.10 percent a year and payable in 40 years that include a grace period of 12 years.

The loan agreement is expected to be signed in November when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with President Rodrigo Duterte during the 31st ASEAN Summit. — With Ted Cordero/Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News