WITH a staggering $7 billion project cost (yes, in dollars), the Philippine government embarks on an ambitious subway plan comparable with those in developed countries.

Beset with traffic congestion problems which authorities have not successfully addressed despite myriad approaches, the government, through its economic managers, is expected to approve the first subway plan by the National Economic and Development Authority's (Neda) Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee and final approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Mega Manila Subway Project Phase 1 covering a 25-kilometer underground mass transportation system connects Quezon City and Taguig City and would tap an estimated $4.4 billion of the official development assistance (ODA) from Japan and the balance would be sourced from other lenders.

The subway plan would be a very welcome development for Metro Manila residents who have suffered for so long with serious traffic congestion problems.

At present, Metro Manila, which is bursting at the seams due to overpopulation, relies heavily on MRT and LRT lines which turn out to be very unreliable and trouble-laden.

With this new subway transport system, Metro Manila would heave a sigh of relief as it will give its residents more options as far as transport is concerned. The only issue here is how fast would the approvals come, first from Neda and finally from PRRD. Let's wait with bated breath for development on the issue.

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It is about right for the House of Representatives to put its foot down and shame the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) with a demeaning P1,000 budget for the year 2018.

This agency for the past years has been beset with allegations of massive corruption irritating even the honorable members of Congress, so despite seeking a P365 million allocation for next year, Congress severely trimmed it down to P1,000 as punishment for its inefficiency and corruption.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chair of the Senate energy committee reportedly advised the legislators "to decide with prudence and seriously consider the critical function that the ERC exercises over an industry wherein multi-billion dollars of investments are at stake".

Still, the decision to trim ERC's budget to just P1,000 is a wake-up call for it to shape up or be shut!