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Politics

Japan-backed Manila subway project gets green light

Philippines presses ahead with Duterte's nationwide infrastructure drive

Work is underway on a 5.58km elevated highway in Caloocan City, Metro Manila.   © Reuters

MANILA -- The Philippines on Tuesday approved a $7 billion subway project in Metro Manila to be built with Japanese financing. 

The National Economic and Development Authority Board -- an infrastructure committee chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte that approves large-scale programs -- gave the go-ahead for the implementation of four projects, including the 355.6 billion peso Metro Manila Subway. 

The subway line will run from Quezon City in northern Metro Manila to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country's main gateway. 

At present, there are only four train lines operating in Metro Manila. The country's first underground mass transit line is expected to relieve some of the gridlock in the metropolis, which is home to nearly 13 million people. 

Boarding jam-packed trains on the Light Rail Transit System is a daily ordeal for many of Metro Manila's nearly 13 million people.   © Reuters

Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to sign the agreement when the two leaders meet in November at the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in Manila. 

Other projects approved by the NEDA Board on Tuesday include a 21.19 billion peso plan to upgrade and widen roads in Mindanao in the south of the country funded by the Asian Development Bank, the construction of two new bridges in the capital financed by China and an irrigation system project in the north. 

Japan is set to fund at least nine infrastructure programs, which also include a flood management project in Southern Luzon, a high-speed railway linking Metro Manila's commuter line to Clark in Central Luzon and an irrigation project in Mindanao. 

Duterte's term through 2022 has been labeled "the golden age" of Philippine infrastructure, with the president promising $8.4 trillion of investment over a six-year period. The projects will be funded mostly through the national budget and loans from Japan, Korea and China.   

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