President Rodrigo Duterte administration is now considering the recommendation and proposals of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to build a subway system to address the vehicular traffic crisis in Metro Manila, transportation undersecretary Noel Kintanar said on Wednesday.

One of the five tough medium-term solutions conducted in 2014 by JICA is a secondary underground mass transit line system that will help eliminate traffic congestion in the National Capital Region.

Subway Train
A modern subway train line in Europe –

Kintanar said, “The construction of elevated railways on-ground would bring the city to a stop, so they plan to use tunnel-boring machines so that “life goes on on the surface.”

Kintanar reiterated that the traffic congestion in Metro Manila is the consequence of the nation’s inability to put enough in mass transit project.

The first subway line system proposals that have a total distance of 20-kilometers is to link Makati Central Business District, the Mall of Asia in Pasay City, and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig. However, Kintanar wants it connected up to Ortigas in Pasig.

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The JICA’s recommendation right now, closely being studied by the administration, a feasibility if the subway system can be adopted at the present condition of Metro Manila, that most of the streets are flooded during rainy seasons, the report said.

For now many Filipinos still, dismiss the idea of building a subway in Manila like it’s the most, ridiculous thing they’ve ever heard.

Norman Marcelo, an assistant director of quality assurance for capital projects at NY Metro North Railroad and having grown up in Manila has an answer to everyone worrying about the flooding. Well, there is a technology for this problem, in fact, subway systems have been designed to operate under sea level. Many travel through tunnels under rivers. One example for this is the New York’s subways go under the East River, and the Hong Kong system and San Francisco’s BART go under bays.

Marcelo said there are many risks and costly disadvantages involved in building a subway in Manila—topographical, geographical and financial, but he thinks it’s “technologically possible.”

For Manila, Marcelo sees the challenges of building a subway being the higher capital, operating and maintenance costs, flood protection costs and a higher level of all-round skills. If a subway system doesn’t happen, he suggests other multi-mode transit facilities should also considers. – Jason E.