PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. reiterated on Monday, January 9, 2023, his administration’s commitment on the implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects, noting its vital role in economic development and job generation.

Marcos led the launching of the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) in Valenzuela City. The event was attended by transportation officials, local government officials and Matsuda Kenichi, the Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.

“We will continue to invest and improve on our transportation systems as well as pursue more projects in the years to come, so that Filipinos can gain greater access to places of work, commerce, recreation and other vital areas,” Marcos said in his speech.

“Having an effective and efficient transportation system will have multiplier effects on employment, the economy, and our society; it will also bring comfort, convenience, and an easier life for all,” he added.

Marcos congratulated and thanked the Department of Transportation (DOTr), its private partners and those who worked for the realization of the first subway system project in the country.

He also expressed his gratitude to the government of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for being the Philippines’ active partners in the fulfillment of its infrastructure programs.

Marcos said the tunnel boring machine highlights Japan’s expertise in technology and trailblazing contributions in the modern world, as he expressed confidence that “they will help us shape our railway infrastructure and keep them at par with the highest international standards.”

For his part, Kenichi said the event marks the launch as a “new dawn” for the Philippines’ transportation story.

The Japanese official credited late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. for initiating the project back in his days.

“The plan was first initiated during the time of the late President Marcos Sr. Decades later, it can be considered a legacy that is now in the hands of His Excellency President Marcos Jr. to fulfill,” Kenichi said.

“Today’s launching ceremony is such a good indicator that our infrastructure cooperation is gaining much momentum under President Marcos administration’s Build, Better, More policy,” he added.

Kenichi said the project is not only seen to ease traffic congestion but also the carbon dioxide emission in Metro Manila and thereby benefit the well-being of more commuters.

He assured that the Japanese government will continue to cooperate in this flagship project in a full-speed-ahead manner until such time that Filipinos can finally enjoy the convenience of a subway.

The DOTr earlier said that the project is expected to be operational by 2028.

The subway system, which will run from Valenzuela to Bicutan, is expected to cut down the usual two hours or more travel time from the said points to just 45 minutes.

It will have 17 stations, with interconnection on the current railway system in Metro Manila such as the LRT, MRT and PNR.

Over 519,000 passengers per day are expected to be catered by the subway system.

The P488.47 billion worth project will be funded by a loan agreement between the Philippines and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. (SunStar Philippines)