Metro Manila can look forward to a new subway system and airport as the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Philippine government have agreed to cooperate on infrastructure development for the metropolis.
On Tuesday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan announced the formulation of the Cooperation Roadmap for Quality Infrastructure Development in the Transport Sector in Metropolitan Manila Area, an offshoot of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s state visit to Japan last June.
“These initiatives intend to harmonize cooperation efforts and guide the development of policies, design, and prioritization of transport-related programs and projects in Metro Manila,” Balisacan said.
A steering committee held its first hearing on Tuesday and discussed studies being undertaken by the JICA for the possible implementation of the Mega Manila Subway and New Manila International Airport projects.
Also discussed were Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project and the Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreement, signed on August 25, 2015, and the North-South Commuter Railway Project (Malolos-Tutuban).
Balisacan and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa chaired the meeting.
“I think we should be able to complete the subway feasibility study early next year. The feasibility study will be completed before the administration ends,” Balisacan said at the sidelines of the meeting.
“It is not an easy project … so that when the next administrations comes they can pick it up from there. They won’t have to start from zero,” he added.
Proposals for a facility to replace the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), meanwhile, are also being carefully studied.
Balisacan said it would take more or less two decades from the feasibility study to the completion of the airport.
In terms of funding, he said the NEDA was also considering what option to take.
“At the end of the day what we want to do is get a funding that is cheaper. If it is cheaper if we take an ODA (official development assistance) we’ll take on ODA, but if it is cheaper if [we tap] local funding we’ll have to locally fund it … If cheaper by PPP (public-private partnership) we can do it,” Balisacan said.