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Solons question changes in route of P350-B Metro Manila subway project

/ 12:44 PM September 12, 2018

Lawmakers have questioned the changes in the route of the P350-billion Metro Manila subway project, which first phase of construction is set to begin this December.

READ: Construction of P350B Metro Manila subway starts this year — Tugade

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At a hearing of the House of Representatives’ Metro Manila Development Committee on Wednesday, Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan said the original alignment of the country’s first subway would be from Mindanao Avenue, going to North Avenue and traversing Edsa all the way to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

But he also said the interagency handling the project changed a segment of the route after conducting a feasibility study in August 2017.

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Originally, a segment of the subway route would go from North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, to Ortigas, just like the route of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3).

The new segment however would now be from North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, going to East Avenue, Anonas, and Katipunan, before going to Ortigas.

Caloocan 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice and Quezon City 1st District Rep. Vincent Crisologo raised questions on the modified alignment.

“Ang unang-unang dapat lagyan ng subway ay Edsa at ‘yan ay nasa plano, nag-iba,” Erice noted.

“Hindi ‘yan ‘yung daanan ng mga commuters, ng mga ordinaryong mamayan. Parang puro commercial developments ‘yung dinadaanan ng subway baka mas makinabang dito ‘yung mga commercial developer imbes na mamamayan,” he added.

Crisologo, for his part, asked Batan to justify the changes and requested a copy of the minutes of the interagency meeting where the changes were made.

The interagency panel is composed of the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

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Justification

Batan said the alteration was done since they considered the capacity rehabilitation of the MRT-3.

“Instead of concentrating two mass transport line under and above Edsa, ‘yung segment po na ‘yun was diverted to the East in order to spread capacity,” he explained during the hearing.

With the capacity expansion of 900,000 to 1 million planned for MRT-3, Batan said this would be enough to service commuters along Edsa.

“Gusto natin ma-avoid na ma-oversupply ang Edsa na kung saan paano naman ‘yung ibang mga corridors natin na meron namang mananakay,” he added in a separate interview.

READ: 1st 3 Metro Manila subway stations seen operational by 2022

“Number one consideration hindi lang ng gobyerno pati ng lenders natin, ng Jica, is ‘yung transport demand, hindi tayo maglalatag ng riles ng walang transport demand,” Batan also said.

According to Batan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) would shoulder up to P280 billion of the total P350 billion cost of the subway project.  /kga

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