The Philippines’ first underground railway breaks ground

Artist’s impression of the proposed subway project traversing Metro Manila, Philippines. Department of Transportation (Philippines)/Wikimedia Commons

Transport officials in the Philippines broke ground yesterday its PHP350-billion (USD6.5 billion) subterranean mass rapid transit system, the country’s first.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the 36-kilometre-long Metro Manila railway mark “a historic day for the Philippines”, the Transportation Department said in a media statement via Manila Standard.

The department is currently paring down bidders for operation and maintenance of the project, set for full completion in 2025.

A Filipino-Japanese joint venture that includes Shimizu Corp., Fujita Corp, Takenaka Civil Engineering Co. Ltd. and EEI Corp. will design and build the first three of 15 stations for completion in 2022. The companies are also undertaking the construction of the railway depot in the city of Valenzuela, where the ceremonies took place, and facilities of the Philippine Railway Institute, the Standard reported.

The Philippine government signed a PHP51.3-billion loan agreement for the project with Japanese counterparts in March 2018.

Property analysts have welcomed progress of the underground transit, with Colliers Philippines expecting the project to raise prices of land and properties within a kilometre of the stations.

“We see residential land values around the stations rising by at least two-fold while commercial land values will likely increase by at least three-fold from the start of construction to full operation of the subway,” said Paul Vincent Ramirez, Colliers Philippines’ director for valuation services, in a statement in November.

“Other stations may experience higher land value growth especially those connected with other mass transit systems and near greenfield or brownfield properties which can be redeveloped into townships or mixed use communities,” he added.