Senate probes realignment of P356-billion Metro Manila subway

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on public services has started looking into the controversial realignment of stations in the proposed P356-billion Metro Manila subway project, which reportedly crosses a major earthquake fault.

Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the committee, raised the issues on the project during a hearing last week when the apparent lack of a traffic master plan from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) became evident.

She noted the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) presented a comprehensive transportation plan for Metro Manila and nearby provinces in 2014, and was updated in 2019.

However, it turns out the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has yet to adopt the plan as the agency paid a firm P100 million to study it further for submission in December.

“It’s late. It’s been more than a year,” Poe told reporters after the hearing, referring to the NEDA report.

She indicated the committee will ask the DOTr to put on hold the subway project that originally cost around P220 billion and has ballooned to P356 billion because of the changes made to the stations’ locations.

“We’ve learned there are subway stops that were not in the original proposal. So it appears there were additions made. We have to find out if this is cost effective, more practical or cause trouble?” Poe said.

Reports said the Metro Manila subway as proposed by the DOTr apparently deviated from the original proposal by a joint NEDA-JICA team that ensured that it would not pass through hazards or danger zones.

The altered subway project is to be built along a major earthquake fault line, and would traverse several flood-prone areas.

The original proposal would mainly pass underneath EDSA with San Jose del Monte, Bulacan as the northern end point, and Dasmariñas, Cavite as its southern tip for minimal disruptions and right-of-way issues, and maximum servicing of commuters.

The first phase of the present version, as pushed by the DOTr, will start in Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and end at FTI Terminal in Taguig City.

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