CONSTRUCTION of the Metro Manila subway, the country's first ever mass underground transport system, is expected to start in the third quarter of 2018, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Wednesday, December 20.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, in a press conference, said the feasibility study for the project is being finalized.

"The DOTr (Department of Transportation) is expected to commence project implementation of the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) Phase 1 as early as third quarter of 2018," Diokno said.

The P355.6-billion MMSP-Phase 1 is a 25.3-kilometer subway connecting North and South Manila - from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

The project will consist of 13 stations and is expected to cut commuting time from Quezon City to Taguig City to 31 minutes.

It will be funded through Japanese official development assistance.

The project is targeted to be completed in 2027, although partial operations are expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2025.

The government has allotted P1.1 trillion for infrastructure projects next year, about a third of the approved P3.767-trillion budget for 2018.

Of the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA), the budget of the main agencies handling infrastructure projects, such as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Transportation (DOTr), have increased by 40.3 percent and 24.4 percent, respectively, he said. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)