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If there is a way that could decongest Metro Manila and other urban areas of too many vehicles and people, it is an efficient mass-transport system. And we are heartened to note that the Philippine government is now set to undertake mass-transport projects.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade disclosed that President Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will sign in November an agreement that will pave the way for the construction of what is called “Mega Manila Subway Project.”

The construction of the Mega Manila Subway Project is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2019, and is expected to be completed in 2024.

The P227-million subway project is a 25-kilometer underground mass-transport system linking major business districts to government centers. It is expected to serve more than 300,000 passengers daily.

The first phase of the subway system will run from Quezon City to Taguig City with 13 stations. Under the proposal, the subway would start from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and will end in Dasmariñas City, Cavite. The study focuses on a central zone starting from Quezon City and ending in FTI.

Tugade announced other railway projects being pursued in fulfillment of the Duterte administration’s “Golden Age of Infrastructure” to boost economic development.

The first phase of the 2,000-kilometer Mindanao Railway connecting Tagum, Davao Del Norte to Davao City and Digos, Davao Del Sur is expected to be completed by 2022 and slated to begin its construction by fourth quarter of 2018.

The P32-billion railway system is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum to Digos by at least one hour.

The Philippine National Railway north line connecting Metro Manila to Clark is expected to be completed by 2021. The 100-kilometer railway will cater to some 350,000 passengers daily and will take 55 minutes to reach Tutuban from Clark.

The PNR South Rail connecting Manila to Los Banos and the Bicol Region is expected to start by the third quarter of 2018.

The Manila-Laguna line is expected to be completed in 2021, with a projected daily ridership of 330,000, while the Manila-Bicol line is expected to be completed by 2022 and will serve 400,000 commuters daily.

Japan is a country that succeeded in decongesting its urban areas. With the bullet trains travelling at a speed of 180 to 200 kilometers per hour, millions of Japanese families moved their residence from Tokyo to nearby prefectures.

If it takes only 30-45 minutes to commute between Metro Manila and Tarlac, it would be practical for office workers in Makati to transfer their houses to that Central Luzon province.

This would mean less traffic snarls and squatter shanties – two of the myriad problems that make life unbearable in the city.


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