• Kyodo

  • SHARE

The start of construction for a Japanese-financed subway in the Philippines’ urban metropolis of Manila could be pushed back to as far as December next year, a Philippine official said Tuesday.

The Philippine government had said previously that construction of the 355 billion peso (about $7 billion) project would start by the first quarter of 2018, meaning it would be delayed by around nine months.

Jonathan Uy, assistant secretary for investment programming at the Philippines’ National Economic and Development Authority, said during a forum in Manila that many factors need to be taken into account, such as the formalization of a loan agreement.

“You are familiar with the fiscal year of the Japanese, that most agreements and withholding loans are signed on the first quarter of any given year because this is when (the Japanese Diet) confirms the Cabinet’s pledge,” Uy said.

The official said it is still possible construction could start as originally scheduled.

The new schedule is based on an estimated timetable for the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project, given by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to the development authority, the state body that approves the country’s big-ticket infrastructure projects.

Formal arrangements for the loan agreement were initially expected to be finalized when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila next week.

Aside from the loan agreement, Uy also cited procurement concerns and implementation constraints that could possibly put off the start of construction.

The initial phase of the mega subway, the first such project for the Philippines, will cover a stretch of around 23 kilometers from Quezon City to Paranaque City. It is expected to be used by 370,000 people daily.

The subway is projected to be completed in 2025, according to the development authority.

Separately, the Philippines and Japan are also discussing possible funding of a $197 million anti-flood infrastructure project in Cavite, a city south of Manila, as well as a railway project north of the metropolis.

The $4.27 billion railway will stretch from Malolos in Bulacan to Clark in Pampanga, according to the Philippines’ Finance Department.