The Metro Manila Subway is still on track to start partial operations by the fourth quarter of 2021, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Wednesday.
In a virtual briefing with the House Committee on Economic Affairs, Tugade said construction activities have been delayed but workers are now working to catch up with the targets.
"'Yung subway, tuloy pa rin ho 'yung schedule namin. Gusto ko ho mag-partial operability last quarter of next year," he told lawmakers.
He was referring to the Metro Manila Subway, dubbed as the Philippines' "Project of the Century" which is expected to serve as much as 370,000 passengers daily in its first year of full operations.
The partial operability of the subway comprises the first stations in Quezon City and in Valenzuela City, where the line's depot is also located.
"Kung kinakailangan baguhin 'yung tatlong istasyon, kailangan magkaroon ng partial operability na itinatayo na ho namin 'yung depot sa Valenzuela at doon mapapanganak 'yung partial operability," said Tugade.
The DOTr said that once completed and fully operational, the Metro Manila Subway will cut down travel time from Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to about 40 minutes.
It will have a total of 15 stations, including a terminal station at the NAIA Terminal 3.
According to Tugade, workers are now catching up since construction activities were put on hold due to the implementation of lockdowns designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
"Bumagal kumpara nung nag-umpisa. Hindi naman ho bumilis na kumpleto na 'yung catch up, meron pa ring mga hinahabol na kumbaga sabihin mo 'yung mga proyekto may delay 'yan na mga dalawa, tatlong buwan, pero gumagawa tayo ng catch up," he said.
"Kinakaya po namin 'yan at pinipilit ho naming kayanin. 'Yung mga proyekto sa MIAA, 'yung mga ibang proyekto sa pantalan at sa marina, kakayanin," he added.
In 2018, Philippine officials signed a ¥104.530-billion (around P51 billion) loan deal with the Japan International Cooperation Committee (JICA) to finance the first phase of the subway project. — RSJ, GMA News