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₱227-Billion Mega Manila Subway Touted as the Country’s ‘Project of the Century’ 

Proposed design of the subway train

It’s a P227 billion project that needs to live up to the hype of being the Philippines’ first subway system.

It will also become the fifth subway system in the entire Southeast Asia.

Expected to be the most expensive transport project by the Duterte administration, the government predicts that it will accommodate 370,000 passengers per day in the first year alone.

But the question is: can they deliver?

It seems Department of Transportation Secretary (DOTC) chairman Arthur Tugade has a lot of faith in its implementation.

Sec. Tugade, DOTC chairman

“This is a very ambitious project. Give us your trust, give us your confidence. We will build, build, build it. We will complete it,” he said.

And apparently, things have already started, with the project up for approval by President Duterte this September. Moreover, the National Economic Development Agency (NEDA) informed that a loan agreement signing will happen between the Philippines and Japanese governments this November for the said project.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia added: “The subway is going to be the project of the century for the Philippines. Designing of that will be in November when Prime Minister Abe will come for the ASEAN Summit,” he said in a press conference in Quezon City.

President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe

How It Started

The subway proposal has been in the works as early as 1973, when the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and former Secretary of Public Works and Highways David Consunji proposed it to be a part of the 1977 MMetroplan. This was supported by the World Bank, but was not implemented due to concerns about flood-prone areas, such as Marikina and Cainta. They opted to build the Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 1, instead.

In 2014, the “Metro Manila Subway” was produced as part of the Metro Manila Dream Plan, a strategic, unified plan recommended by a study conducted again by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).  It was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board in June 2014.

Design and Features of the Subway

Cross section of the subway tunnels

Originally, the “Metro Manila Subway” would be a 57.7-kilometer subway that would serve as the second north–south mass transit for the newly expanded Greater Capital Region. But it was modified, and was renamed “Mega Manila Subway.” 

Now part of President Duterte’s ambitious Build, Build, Build Plan” for the Philippines, this subway is estimated to be 25 kilometers long, with an expected run of about 80 kilometers per hour. The inner tunnel diameter is 5.2 meters, while the outer tunnel diameter is 5.65 meters.

The subway will be designed to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, since the nearby Marikina Valley Fault System can reach a magnitude of 7.2-7.6 on the scale.

Once completed, it’s expected to reduce the time it takes to travel from Quezon City to Taguig in just 31 minutes.

Implementation of the Project

Cross section of the construction tunnels

The first construction phase of the Mega Manila Subway would involve thirteen stations (or stops):

Quezon City:
1. Mindanao Avenue
2. North Avenue
3. Quezon Avenue
4. East Avenue
5. Anonas
6. Katipunan

7. Ortigas North
8. Ortigas South

9. Kalayaan Avenue

10. Bonifacio Global City
11. Cayetano Boulevard
12. Food Terminal Incorporated (FTI)
13. Ninoy Aquino International Airport

The entire subway will also extend beyond Metro Manila to San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan (north) and Dasmariñas City, Cavite (south).

It’s projected to begin by the fourth quarter of 2020, and expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2025.

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  1. Joseph Sadowski
    August 19, 2017 at 11:23 am — Reply

    Yes Why not build on the ring of fire where earth quakes happen daily, Yes lets build it so that when rush hour comes and a 7.2 hits we will only lose over 100,000 Citizens, Yes Lets spend this Loan on a test project which eventually come crumbling down killing everyone in the trains and lets not forget the drowning of so many others when the water comes gushing in, Yes, We are the only country sitting on the ring of fire, and What does this government care about it’s citizens, they do not enforce Building codes allowing 4 and 5 story buildings in row home projects without any foundation at all and not even caring about the citizens living next to these buildings as when the big one hits the count of the deaths will be catastrophic, Who cares about taking a Loan out that our children and their children will be paying off and the end result will be not having any Subway system, Yes, Duterte an your spending Government, Who cares not about the citizens, Not You or the senate or the congress!

    • lau
      August 19, 2017 at 7:07 pm — Reply

      The possibility that this infrastructure will crumble down when earthquakes happen is when officials that handling this project will corrupt the money, instead of 227Billion pesos it becomes 100 billion pesos

      August 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm — Reply

      A tunnel can handle 8.0 on paper 😉 so in practice at least 9.0 its all stable! Doing tunneling work now already 14 Years. Mexico City a lot of water and earthquakes. No problem its working perfect over there now. Thx to new technics and experiences its possible and safe!

    • August 23, 2017 at 9:30 pm — Reply

      Tell that to The Japanese!

    • Hookie Pookie
      August 24, 2017 at 10:42 am — Reply

      Hahahha. DAMN RIGHT BROTHA!

    • Johann
      March 18, 2018 at 3:25 pm — Reply

      I think Mr. joseph is not an Engineer that’s why he is worrying about that earthquake and water table. We as an Engineer, we already have solution for that.

    • Phylux
      May 14, 2018 at 7:08 pm — Reply

      Just leave it to the engineers! They will make it possible. That’s why we have people we call “engineers”. The only condition it will crumble down is when it’s not done as designed.

    • amorsolo
      February 28, 2019 at 12:02 pm — Reply

      there is no any argument coz japan’s project.. unless china made is fuckin shit!!

  2. Max
    August 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm — Reply

    Another Long Term traffic alleviating project that will cost Billions of Dollars to execute while the most simple thing they need to do is implement the odd-even scheme on all the vehicles within Metro Manila from Monday to Saturday or 6 days a week. That’s 50% less vehicles on the streets upon implementation. Therefore, “ramdam agad ang ginhawa sa kalye”. There will be a few who will purchase another vehicle but the majority will learn to adjust and sacrifice using the existing public transport system. These should include all government officials so they will have the urgency to institute efficiency in their respective departments. “Saka na lang sila magisip ng mga long term solutions”. At the very least, the public that they have sworn to serve will have more time with their families than the Metro Manila streets that has been the source of corruption from all levels.

  3. Jeremy
    August 23, 2017 at 11:13 pm — Reply

    Please clarify if its P 227 B or $ 227 B. The title says it’s in Peso but the body tells otherwise. Thank you.

    • August 24, 2017 at 5:03 am — Reply

      Hi Jeremy,
      It’s P227 billion. Thanks for bringing this up.

  4. Isagani
    August 27, 2017 at 11:30 am — Reply

    With staircase? Why not a series of escalators, like in the subways of other countries?

    • Anonymous
      March 7, 2019 at 12:06 am — Reply

      Using the stairs is a good exercise because most of the people in the Philippines have high blood pressure plus it saves energy cost.

  5. Tess Sarmiento
    September 5, 2017 at 3:49 am — Reply

    I have a question ..what is going to happen for the property that is going to be affected I have property at Mindanao Avenue and it’s 4 storey apartment is the Duterte government will pay me….

    • September 5, 2017 at 10:27 am — Reply

      Hi Tess,
      I assume the government will follow the correct procedures and pay for your property — as long as you legally own the land.

  6. Kelly
    April 11, 2018 at 2:21 pm — Reply

    Hi Cherryl,
    Which company/contructor will carry the tunneling project or is it under bidding process still? I want to work if it starts. You see I’ve been working in tunneling projects in Hong Kong for 10 yrs. We used TBM’s ( Herrenkeneck) to do boring of the tunnels.

    • April 11, 2018 at 2:59 pm — Reply

      Hi Kelly,
      I think it’s still in the bidding process–although I’m not sure about this.

      So far, the only company / contractor I know that’s “relentlessly” bidding for it is Hitachi Ltd. (Hitachi Rail System). They’re also in the process of partnering up with new and existing Filipino rail companies for this project, so you might want to get in touch with them now. 🙂

      • Anonymous
        April 11, 2018 at 9:34 pm — Reply

        Thanks Cherryl. Would you pls give me info if there’s other development. I will research about Hitachi. God speed.

      • Anonymous
        April 11, 2018 at 9:43 pm — Reply

        Hi Cherryl,
        I guess the company that will do the railing would be the “relentless’ Hitachi or other railing company but the company who will construct the tunnel woul be a company that does tunneling. It shd be because it’s a big project and no company can do both or the client shd distribute the project entirity to two or more companys

        • April 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm — Reply

          I think you have a good point here. The project is really too big for one company to handle, so it’s possible they’ll outsource the “tunneling” part to another company.

  7. Danilo Kuizon Carillo
    October 28, 2018 at 12:29 pm — Reply

    I’d been working with MRT,LRT,Monorail, Tram projects overseas for 22 years using TBM, EPBM for tunneling and Viaducts for elevated in various countries, eg Singapore, India, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Qatar, Indonesia, Japan . These countries are prone for earthquakes, floods, typhoons but thanks God, all projects were completed and operational. Good planning, design and strict supervision are required.

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