Underground malls to be constructed along planned subway’s path

The Metro Manila Subway project is among the solutions the government is working on to ease the serious traffic congestion

Manila: Government plans for the 30 kilometre-long Metro Manila Subway will involve leasing out underground commercial spaces to generate income, an official said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government plans to take out a P51 billion (Dh3.57 billion) loan from Japan to make the project a reality. The Philippines plans to do this by maximising the commercial potential of the planned subterranean railway line, which when finished in 2025, will be the country’s first ever subway line.

“Yes, absolutely. In fact, we’re planning to have retail spaces just like in Japan. Definitely, we will be utilising that so we are going to be putting value to the underground area in Manila. And the revenues will definitely contribute to paying off this loan,” Dominguez said.

“Although I must say the loan is really almost too good to believe because it’s 40 years with a 12-year grace period. You know, this is very generous package from the JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency).”

The Metro Manila Subway project is among the solutions the government is working on to ease the serious traffic congestion in the megacity of more than 10 million. The other projects include the ongoing expansion and improvement of the three elevated railway system servicing the metropolis as well as improvements on the country’s commuter mini-bus transport.

According to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, a segment of the subway will be completed by the second quarter of 2022. The entire project is expected to completed by 2025.

Utilising cutting-edge Japanese tunnelling technology, the construction of the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway will stretch from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) area in Taguig City, and will continue all the way to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The underground railway will span about 30 kilometres with 14 stations.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), the project’s chief implementing agency, made a deliberate effort to position subway stations beside or near state property to maximise the investment returns for the government.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan cited, for instance, the proposed North Avenue station that will be contiguous to the Veterans Memorial Medical Centre, the Katipunan station that will be built on Camp Aguinaldo property, a station at the Bonifacio Global City that will be beside a property of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, and a station near the Air Force field at the Villamor Air Base.

The planned subway will be connected to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“As much as possible, we’ve selected station locations that would maximise the return of value to the government coffers,” Batan said.


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