COLUMN: Faster, easier commute with Mega Manila, Makati subways – SHARP EDGES by Jake J. Maderazo

By Jake J. Maderazo August 09, 2018 - 11:37 AM SHARE(S):

Last week, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade announced that the much-awaited Mega Manila subway project could start construction before December.

The P350-billion, 25-kilometer subway system will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to Ninoy Aquino International

Complementing this is Makati’s own intracity subway system, which will be built at no cost to the local government. If everything goes according to plan, construction of the underground railway could also commence by yearend.

Both subways would help move goods and people faster and make commuting more convenient. It’s not uncommon for Filipinos to endure four to five hours in traffic every day, which leads to physical and emotional stress, and lack of valuable family time.

Traffic congestion adversely affects the economy and the Japan International Cooperation Agency estimates lost opportunities at P3 billion a day, or roughly 7 percent of the country’s yearly gross domestic product.

The two subways are, therefore, a long overdue response to the clamor for a faster and more efficient mass transport system.

Last month, the Makati City Council’s infrastructure committee gave the IRC Properties-led consortium “original proponent status” for its proposed $3.7-billion Makati subway.

After detailed negotiations on the project’s technical and financial aspects, the subway proposal is now in the competitive Swiss challenge stage. If there are no worthy challengers, project award will soon follow.

Mayor Abby Binay’s novel approach of partnering with the private sector for massive infrastructure projects could inspire other local governments to follow suit. After all, traffic is not a problem exclusive to Makati and it takes vision, a strong political will and lots of courage to follow Mayor Abby’s example.

While there will be no cash out on the part of the city government, sources privy to the subway project intimated that Makati, as joint venture partner, will contribute government land and exercise the power of eminent domain as needed.

IRC, a publicly listed company, and its international consortium partners have actual experience building and operating subways in China and other countries.

Connectivity is also vital between the Makati intracity subway and Mega Manila subway, Metro Rail Transit 3, Pasig River Ferry Service and other land-based transport terminals.

For sure, “Makatizens” can be proud of this project as they, too, will greatly benefit from better traffic flow, an easier commute and higher property values once the subway becomes operational.

In the meantime, Makati under Mayor Abby’s watch is always open for business and public-private partnerships to fulfill her dream of a connected digital city.

Political Talk:

Who is this legislator who flaunts his very expensive watches to colleagues? One model, a Richard Mille, costs P25 million in the secondary market and P50 million when brand-new. It is worn only by the world’s elite. How then can he afford it?

Who is this local government executive from an area very near Metro Manila who has not just one house, but several, in Toronto, Canada, under different names?

A political personality in the National Capital Region recently threatened his loyal but terrified “bagman” to return to him a bag with “half a million in foreign currency.” The problem is that the bagman swears to high heavens there was no such bag and money in the first place.


Philippine Racing Commission Executive Director Andrew M. Buencamino clarified that the graft case filed against Chair Andrew Sanchez et al., in March 2017 by the Anti-Trapo Movement on the issue of online “sabong,” as mentioned in this column, was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman in a joint resolution on April 11 this year for lack of “substantial evidence.”

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