President Rodrigo Duterte led on Sunday, June 12, the unveiling of the lowering of a tunnel drilling machine to start the construction of the country’s first-ever subway in Metro Manila, which would ease the traffic in the nation’s overcrowded metropolis.
The lowering of the drilling machine was witnessed by Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa in Valenzuela City. It also coincided with the 124th celebration of the country’s independence from its long-time colonizer, Spain.
Duterte, whose six-year term of office will end on June 30, called the project a “gift from the Japanese people to the people of the Philippines.”
“Past is past. But until now, Japan has continued to help us to the extent that [we are] being treated as almost a part of Japan that should be developed in due time,” the outgoing president said.
The Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP), made possible with a $2.66 billion loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, will span a total of 33 kilometers, and will reduce the travel time between major airports in Metro Manila and the northern part of the capital. It will have a total of 17 stations, connecting Valenzuela City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City.
Ambassador Koshikawa called the project a testament to Japan and the Philippine’s long-standing friendship. “The lowering of the tunnel boring machine is such a huge turning point. It will unveil a new era in the Philippines.”
At the same time, Duterte also inspected the MMSP Depot in Valenzuela City and unveiled the “state-of-the-art” train simulator for the Philippine Railways Institute, which would be used in training workers that will operate the subway.
The contract of service for the project was given to Japanese companies, and the machine that will facilitate the drilling is also from Japan.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.
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