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DOTr resets Manila subway groundbreaking to Feb. 26

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The groundbreaking for the planned Mega Manila Subway has been reset anew to late February, and transport officials are flying to Japan next week to fast-track the construction of the rail system.

“Alam mo, ako, ‘pag mag-set ng deadline tsaka schedule, gusto ko ‘yung maigsi, pinahihirapan ko sarili ko ... Tapusin ko ng February 26 ‘yan,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference in Quezon City.

The groundbreaking of the Mega Manila Subway was earlier scheduled to take place in December 2018.

Tuagde then said the groundbreaking was scheduled to push through in mid-January.

The groundbreaking was delayed due to conflict of schedules with Japanese officials, according to the DOTr chief. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is financing the project.

The loan agreement amounting to ¥104.530 billion or around P51 billion was signed by the Philippine government and JICA in March 2018.

While the groundbreaking has been delayed, the construction is actually ahead of schedule, Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran noted on Thursday.

“Originally, subway is supposed to start in Q4 2019. However, we were able to fast track. That’s why we’re inaugurating it this early,” she said in a separate message to GMA News Online.

The subway rail system is planned to stretch 30 kilometers, covering 14 stations from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Parañaque City.

It has a provision for a 5-km extension and two additional stations to connect with the Light Rail Transit Line 1.

The subway is envisioned to shorten commuting time from Quezon City to the airport to under 40 minutes, with the entire railway system targeted to be completed in 2025.

To hasten its construction, Tugade is flying to Japan next week. He said he is leaving next Tuesday inspect the boring machine in Tokyo, then fly to Osaka for a high-level meeting with Japanese officials. —VDS, GMA News

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