PH’s first-ever subway starts construction

 Department of Transportation (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
The dream of having its first-ever subway or underground railway system will finally see the light of day as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) formally starts with clearing works in the Partial Operability (PO) Section of the Metro Manila Subway Project.

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The Partial Operability Section of the subway comprises the first stations in Valenzuela City and Quezon City, the line’s depot in Valenzuela City, and buildings for the Philippine Railway Institute (PRI), the country’s foremost railway training center.

A ceremony to formalize the start of the subway’s construction was held at the depot site in Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City last December 21, 2019. The depot site is also where the subway line’s East Valenzuela Station will be located.

Dubbed as the “Project of the Century,” the underground rail line is expected to serve 370,000 passengers daily in its first year of full operations, and is targeted to be partially operable by 2021.

Once completed and fully operational, the Metro Manila Subway Project will have a total of 15 stations, including a station at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

Part of the ceremony was the distribution of checks and the signing of deeds of absolute sale with project-affected landowners, as well as a testimonial video presentation of project-affected informal settler families that have already been relocated to Valenzuela’s Disiplina Village.

This formal start of clearing operations at the subway’s Valenzuela depot is part of DOTr’s continuing efforts to muster all factors needed in building the underground railway project and in dealing with right-of-way acquisition issues.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, who led the ceremony, noted the progress in the right-of-way acquisition both in terms of acquiring land from legal owners and relocation of informal settler families.

A total of 460 lots are required for the partial operability section of the subway, out of which 364 offers to buy have already been issued based on current market value appraised by Landbank.

Owners of 285 lots out of the 364 lots that the government had already offered to buy, have accepted or are already completing documentation requirements for selling their properties to the government for the project.

A batch of project-affected landowners were present during the ceremony and received their check payments.

As for informal settler families, 178 out of 183 affected families have already been resettled to a better and safer location in Disiplina Village in Barangay Bignay, Valenzuela City with the support of the Valenzuela City local government.

“This gathering today is the primodial trigger to be able to start the subway. That is why this gathering is important. Wala naman ‘hong proyektong mai-implement kung ‘yung babagtasin mo na daan ay hindi pa nasolusyunan. Ngayong araw na ‘hong ito ang signal na para bang sinasabi nating parating na ang subway,” Secretary Tugade expressed.

Following the official transfer of the properties from the landowners to the DOTr, contractors then started the clearing and fencing of portions of the depot.

“With our funding in place, contractor signed-up, detailed designs completed, and right-of-way substantially acquired, and under the strong-willed leadership of our leader, Secretary Arthur Tugade, partial operability of the Duterte Administration’s flagship Metro Manila Subway Project is on track to delivering its promise of a more comfortable life to every Filipino,” DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said in his message.

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