• Subway to a mall? Seriously?!!


    IF it pushes through, the proposed P370-billion (or US$8-billion) Mass Transit System Loop (MTSL) project will go down in Philippine history as one of the most wasteful, idiotic and ill-conceived infrastructure project undertaken by the government, and particularly, by the PNoy administration.

    The proposed 20-kilometer MTSL project – the brainchild of Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya – would consist of a 16-kilometer-long tunnel and four kilometers of elevated railway along the reclaimed area in Pasay City.

    Since most of the line will run underground, it’s been touted as the first subway in the country, with stations at Market-Market, McKinley Parkway, 5th Avenue, Ayala/EDSA, Ayala Triangle, Makati Post Office, PNR Buendia, Buendia/Taft Avenue, World Trade Center, Mall of Asia (MOA), and EDSA/Taft Avenue.

    According to Abaya, the subway project is intended to connect the Bonifacio Global City (BGC), the Makati Central Business District, and the MOA area in Pasay City. The rail system would allegedly address the growing concern of traffic congestion in the fast growing urban centers in the cities of Makati, Pasay, and Taguig.

    Abaya also says the MTSL will improve inter-city linkage by providing a higher capacity public transportation system that would facilitate fast and convenient mobility of goods and services. The subway project also hopes to address the high volume of vehicular traffic traversing these commercial areas.

    Because of the huge cost involved, the subway project will be funded by a private sector partner who will finance, design, construct and operate the mass transit system as a public-private partnership (PPP) project.

    Once approved, this will be the biggest and most expensive PPP project of the government thus far. It will also be the epitome of the PNoy administration’s sell out to big business interests.

    Limiting the coverage of the subway system to the two business districts in Taguig and Makati as well as the mall and casino district in Pasay’s reclaimed area will not have much impact on the public transport problems in these cities. Neither will it alleviate the hardship experienced by thousands of Filipino commuters every single day.

    The MTSL project is obviously meant to benefit the big mall owners, developers and conglomerates in the Makati, Taguig and Pasay commercial districts. In fact, the proposed MTSL project seems to disregard the other congested and fast-growing business areas in Pasig, Mandaluyong and Quezon City.

    Worse, since the private sector partner will somehow have to recoup its expenses and make a profit, it is ordinary Filipinos who will be picking up the tab for this multi-billion peso project.

    With a cost equivalent to 14 percent of our country’s GDP, the P370-billion tag price of the subway project is higher than the annual budget of the Department of Education, which traditionally receives the lion’s share of our national budget. Such a massive sum would be better spent on a PPP project that will have a real positive impact on the economy and on the lives of ordinary Filipinos.

    This is why we are dumbfounded that National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan signed off on this foolhardy project. Reportedly, NEDA’s only objection is to Abaya’s project is the route of the subway line within the Bonifacio Global City.

    Balisacan’s apparent endorsement of the MTSL project is quite puzzling because the proposed MOA-Taguig-Makati loop was not even included in the “Mega Manila Subway Project” study jointly conducted by NEDA and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) last March 2014.

    The JICA-NEDA study proposed an EDSA subway line that would start at San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, in the north then traverse the high volume corridors of Metro Manila and end at Dasmariñas, Cavite, in the south.

    With its North-South alignment, the subway line will effectively connect Region III (Central Luzon), the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) and Region IV-A (Calabarzon), the study said.

    The EDSA subway line will be more beneficial since “it will provide a strong north-south transport backbone that will augment the constrained capacities of the current railway lines and ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.”

    The study also found that putting up the subway along EDSA will “provide a reliable and efficient mass transport system that will promote synergistic growth of the whole Greater Capital Region (GCR) comprised of Central Luzon, Metro Manila and Calabarzon.”

    If the EDSA subway line becomes operational, it will be able to carry some 1.8 million passengers per day. That’s three times bigger than the present ridership of the MRT and the LRT-1.

    With Metro Manila’s transportation system bursting at the seams, we definitely need a major public transport project finalized and started soon.

    As for Abaya’s MTSL project, we need it like we need a hole in the head.


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    1. I think the claim that the project is 14% of our country’s GDP is wrong, misleading and exaggerated. It is actually 2.67%. The plan is well thought of. While other areas also deserve investment in infrastructure, examples from other countries show that the city center should be the most invested and given priority. As Deng Xiaoping mentioned, start with the cities first, and the rural areas will catch up. The BGC-Ortigas bridge and Makati underpass are also other projects aimed to decongest traffic. While it is true that big names are partners in the PPP project, they are much better partnerships rather than the previous model of sole government responsibility. To be fair, the Aquino administration is much less corrupt than its predecessors and it has committed itself to tangible spending.

    2. Just the MRT lines alone this guy Abaya could not hack it, more so how would this gov’t and private sector partnership fare out with subway operations? The nerve, the gall and what chutzpah? It will certainly be another rip-off.

    3. I guess its the right time for us from Visayas and Mindanao to have our own government.

    4. stupid idea by stupid government…Only business people will benefit of this subway which will be placed from mall to mall. Bullshit.

      why not built in EDSA from north to South. This is congested area that will benefit filipino masses usually riding on public buses, in and out from their jobs elsewhere along in EDSA route.

      Why not built mass railway systm, transit from Manila (Tutuban) to North up to San Fernando La Union. The traffic congestion and the volume of passengers from the bus will be lessen if we have a good Railway system transport for public..transportation.
      Nasaan ang mga sinasabi nilang pork barrel para sa infrasctructure and energy.
      Ayaw nilang gastusin para sa mamayang filipino..Shame on this Yellow leeches goverment by Pnoy… Hindi ka makatao, kundi maka business man ka..

    5. ernesto albay on

      its too expensive, THE PROPOSED BULLET TRAIN FOR CALGARY – EDMONTON WHICH IS ALMOST 300-KMS WAS C$2-BILLION DOLLARS hindi US dollars ano ginto ang mga gamit para maraming sumakay diyan sa subway na iyan….

    6. ernesto albay on

      That is the BIG PROBLEM why we have these SECESSATIONIST PROBLEM IN THE SOUTH…MINDANAO..why not think also of some major infrastructure PROJECTS that will benefit also the CITIZENS of mindanao…

      Be ashamed too that development and business concentration is only LUZON…..please equalize these development if you want these country to be one piece…

    7. “the proposed P370B (US$8B) will go as one of the most wasteful, idiotic,ill-conceived infrastructure project..” This kind of “idiotic” statement of a lawyer is one of the reasons why the Philippines is not moving forward. If this subway project isan “idiotic” solution how do you solve the transportation issue in metro manila? If the subway is designed to move 1.8 million passengers a day who are these passengers are they all lawyers,businessmen or working class? I don’t agree it will not have beneficial impact to the ordinary people compared to a PPP project you only know. I know lawyers had good ideas at criticizing without looking at the benefit of the project. Further comparing the cost to the budget of DepEd is an “idiotic” comparison that comes from a lawyer. Please note that the Philippine government is being criticized for spending 2.4% of its annual budget. Other countries are spending 5% or more of their annual budget for infra and here comes a lawyer trying to muddle the issue. This is pathetic. We don’t need lawyers like Atty Ducut to solve the massive transportation problem in metro manila. we need engineers to plan and execute those projects.

      Look at Singapore where all the people are one in nation building, I know Atty Ducut you must have seen that place and see how their subways worked, built by the blood sweat and tears of various nationalities including Filipino engineers. Stop talking nonsense help in nation building please

    8. Amnata Pundit on

      What is idiotic is the privatization ideology that that this yellow regime has embraced more tightly than the Chinese or Russians have embraced communism. Privatization is the use of public utilities by a private elite to milk the public, period. A human rights violating government would be preferable to a privatization addicted one. A human rights violator only fights its enemies, while privatization makes no such discrimination. Only the rich elite are happy.

    9. Pera-pera LNG yan…..kung saan siya at boss niya kikita eh siempre dun ka….malapit Na kasing matapos maliligayang araw nila Sa pwesto….”MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES”

    10. Ok lang if there is a private company willing to take the risk WITHOUT GOVERNMENT GUARANTEE.

    11. Why not a subway to connect NIAA with Clark instead or better still build a subway to Sangley from Manila (pier/NIAA) build an integrated new international airport/ seaport in Sangley, pretty much like the Chep Lak Kok in Hongkong. This will future proof the delivery of goods to and from Metro Manila while decongesting the piers in Manila that can be modernized later to cater for cruise ships like in San Fransisco.

      • NAIA-CLARK proposal was rejected by JICA as too expensive but will not serve the public at large. JICA is suggesting for a real mass transport system, cover wider variety of commuters and areas of service.

    12. Look at the london underground & compare it with this proposal. Look how much of london the underground covers & then think. Thats what you need here. Its very expensive but it serves the whole community & every single commuter coming into london. Then on top of the underground you need a good bus service. Its all essential. The one proposed here is a joke. You need to make it easier for commuters who come to work every single day. They are the masses & they have to be the priority full stop, no argument.

    13. Edgar G. Festin on

      Six years ang na sayang sa socio-economic development natin dahil naupo sa presidency si Abnoy na amo ni Abaya et al.

    14. Private Project like this is measured in terms of benefits as against its cost. The route chosen must have yielded the best returns for the investors’ investment. That’s why it was prioritized. I don’t think your opinion, bereft as it is of thorough study, could override what was painstakingly done to come up with the project study. Until you come up with your alternative study, it is suggested that you refrain from using words like “idiotic”. It does not give you ascendancy over the subject matter.

      • The project is primarily for the benefit of the riding public first and foremost and cost to sales is secondary. Just as the previous mrt-lrt projects, its operation will be subsidize by the gov’t….. meaning I, you and every tax paying Filipinos will be paying for it.. should be clear to you by now….

    15. $8 billion dollars subway in Manila! It’s another corrupt idea from noynoy’s government. This government has this idea of building a subway in Metro Manila so that they themselves can be included among the Forbes list of billionaire. It’s a grand plan to steal billions and billions of public money. They should be hanged in public plaza. That will be the first submarine subway. With 8 billion dollars we can start a new well planed city.

    16. Pangsariling interest lang ang nasa utak nitong si abaya!
      Kung gusto nila ng subway sa mall dapat ang mga mall owner ang magbayad sa gastos! Puro para sa mga yellow leeches at sa sarili niya! Ang ginagawa ng hanggal!!

    17. don’t worry, hindi naman kami basta basta maniniwala diyan sa pakulo na subway na iyan. hindi naman kami luku luku na maniniwala agad. eh kung iyong LRT papunta sa Cavite hindi matuloy tuloy, iyan pa kayang subway na iyan. sabagay, libre naman mangarap. okay lang na mangarap si secretary pabaya.