Japan hoping subway project contibutes to ‘V-shaped’ PHL recovery

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda expressed the hope that the Japan-backed Metro Manila subway will help the Philippines achieve a “V-shaped” economic recovery, with the project expected to generate thousands of jobs.

“I hope it can help lead the Philippines to a possible V-shaped economic recovery, while it lays down the foundation for a more prosperous next generation. I look forward to marking another milestone with you, our partners, in our quest to make the Metro Manila Subway a staggering success,” Mr. Haneda said Friday after the virtual presentation of the six tunnel boring machines currently in Japan that will be used to construct the Philippine capital’s first subway line.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said the construction and operations of the 34-kilometer subway will generate 9,000 direct jobs and up to 50,000 indirect ones. He also assured the public that the subway, once completed, will not be affected by flooding.

“The ground testing has been done extensively…. Will there be flooding in the subway? No. What is the assurance? JIMT (JIM Technology Corp.) is the assurance. The technology of our Japanese construction partners is the assurance. Their experience is our assurance,” Mr. Tugade said.

He added he wants the “partial operability section” of the project from Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City to North Avenue in Quezon City completed by December of 2021.

Hangarin po namin na ang partial operability ay magawa bago magtapos ang 2021… Pamaskong handog natin yan na may partial operability (We hope to achieve partial operations as a Christmas gift by the end of 2021),” he said.

The first tunnel boring machine is expected to arrive from Japan in January.

“Each of these gigantic machines can lay down up to 12 meters of tunnel segments per day, and excavate, daily, up to 600 cubic meters of soil,” Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan said.

Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran has said the tunneling work is expected to begin in the “second half of the year.”

The Metro Manila Subway will have 17 stations: East Valenzuela, Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, Katipunan, Ortigas, Shaw, Kalayaan Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Lawton, Senate, FTI, NAIA Terminal 3, and Bicutan.

The government broke ground on the first three stations in February 2019 after the Transportation department signed a P51-billion deal with the Shimizu joint venture, which consists of Shimizu Corp., Fujita Corp., Takenaka Civil Engineering Co. Ltd., and EEI Corp.

The Philippines and Japan signed in March 2018 the first tranche of the P355.6-billion loan for the project.

“We…fully understand that there is much work to be done and more challenges ahead but we assure our partners in the Department of Transportation and the Government of the Philippines that JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) is a partner you can trust to provide high-quality and innovative solutions for your country’s development goals and facilitate ‘win-win’ partnerships between the Japanese and Filipino peoples,” JICA Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa said. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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