By Ben Rosario
A P300-billion subway project will be one of the centerpieces of the Duterte economic plan to be completed before President Rodrigo Duterte ends his six-year term of office in 2022.
The transport project which will run from Quezon City to Taguig City, apparently via C-5 road, will play a significant role in government’s bid to further ease the debilitating traffic condition in Metro Manila which has also slowed down economic activities in the metropolis.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also disclosed that the $2-billion Northrail project will push through as Philippines and China are nearing a settlement of their loan agreement dispute that started after former President Benigno Aquino III stopped its implementation on account of allegations of overpricing.
“We highlighted certain things which for the first time will be happening in the country. Foremost of which is number one, the subway,” said Tugade during a press conference of government economic managers who joined Duterte in the Cambodia leg of his working visit to three Asian destinations.
Also present during the press briefing were Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella; Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar; Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi; President and CEO Vince Dizon of the Bases Conversion Development Authority and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia.
Tugade revealed that feasibility study of the subway project, part of the “Build-Build-Build” catchphrase of the so-called Dutertenomics, is currently being conducted with the Japan International Cooperation Agency as the expected financier.
“As we would like to mention again now, JICA, which is spearheading the project agreed that the loan agreement between Japan and the Philippines hopefully will be formally signed in November when the Prime Minister (Abe) would have visited the country,” Tugade revealed.
He also disclosed that completion of the project is anticipated within four and one-half years after its commencement, thus, making it extremely possible for the current administration to inaugurate it by 2022.
The subway will be an underground mass transit system that will run between 23 and 25 kilometers covering 14 stations, said Tugade.
The feasibility study is about to be completed, he added.
“A feasibility study will serve not only as the foundation in establishing the cost of the project but also as the trigger in doing our negotiation to have a financial package,” he disclosed.