Japanese funding the first subway in Manila
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a loan agreement with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in Manila to provide a Japanese ODA loan of up to ¥104.53 billion for Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Subway Project.
The project will construct the first subway with 13 stations underground and approximately 25 kilometers in length. The subway will connect Quezon City in the northern part of Metro Manila to Parañaque in the southern part, accommodating increasing transportation needs and alleviating serious traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
The loan funds will be allocated to:
- Constructing stations, underground tunnels between stations, depot and other public works,
- Procuring rail systems and rolling stocks, and
- Consulting services (including tender assistance, construction supervision and Transit Oriented Development support).
The Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) is applied to the project, and it is expected that Japanese technologies and goods such as underground tunnel excavation method, tunnel construction technique in narrow space, signaling systems and rolling stocks will be utilized for the project.
Metro Manila is 620 square kilometers in size, about the same as the 23 wards of Tokyo, and the population has rapidly increased from 7.92 million people in 1990 to 12.87 million in 2015, growing by approximately 1.6 times, which leads to high population density and serious traffic congestion. However, the total length of the 3 urban railway lines servicing in Metro Manila is merely 50 kilometers, and the construction of railway system is lagging behind the needs, which results in further traffic congestion.
The social and economic loss caused by the traffic congestion is estimated to be approximately 3.5 billion pesos (approximately 7.4 billion yen, at the February 2018 rate), showing how the severe traffic congestion leads to lower the international competitiveness of the Philippines.
In response to these circumstances, JICA supported the formulation of “the Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas (Region III & Region IV-A)” (or called “Infrastructure Roadmap”) in 2014. The highest priority of the Infrastructure Roadmap is the development of two large-scale public transportation networks in the north-south direction (north-south backbones) to strengthen the connectivity between Metro Manila and suburbs in the north and south.
The Metro Manila Subway will be one of the north-south backbones, together with the North-South Commuter Railway project (NSCR), which is also supported by a Japanese ODA loan.