Construction begins on PH's first subway line

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Artist's rendition of the Metro Manila Subway Project

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 27) — Construction broke ground Wednesday on the Philippines' first ever subway line, the most ambitious among the Duterte administration's infrastructure projects.

The Metro Manila Subway Project is 36 kilometers long, covers seven cities, and has 15 stations - from Quirino Highway in Quezon City, all the way to Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

The project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and is being built to the tune of over P357 billion.

Three stations are scheduled to be operational by 2022 but the entire system is expected to be completed in 2025.

TJ Batan, Undersecretary for Rails of the Department of Transportation (DOTr said at least 5,000 jobs are expected to be generated from the subway project during construction, and 2,000 jobs once it begins operations.

"That's just the direct employment that the project is expected to generate, because...there's a lot of secondary and support services that is going to create much more jobs," he said.

He also assured the public the construction of the subway system will have a minimal impact on traffic.

Speaking to CNN Philppines' New Day, Batan said, "It will create some necessary road diversions aboveground, but one of the good things about a subway compared to your more traditional elevated railway, is that the disruption is only going to happen where the stations are located."

According to Batan, the subway system can withstand flooding during construction and once it becomes fully operational.

In a statement Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo said the subway system is a "a major transformational project in mass transport in the country."

He added, they are requesting the administrations to succeed Duterte's to keep the momentum until the system is fully completed.

"The Office of the President will be monitoring the progress of this project and commits its all-out support to the DOTr and all agencies involved as they endeavor to deliver this facility to our countrymen," he said.

The Metro Manila Subway Project is the most expensive project of the government under the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.

It is expected to cut travel time from the northmost station — Quirino Avenue — to NAIA from the usual two to three hours to a mere 30 minutes.

The subway system is also expected to serve more than 300,000 passengers daily.

CNN Philippines correspondents Rex Remitio and Makoi Popioco contributed to this report.