67.5-km subway system proposed for Cebu


THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) plans to reintroduce the railway to Cebu after more than seven decades of absence.

Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan met with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, to present the “Metro Cebu Urban Transport Master Plan.”

Cebu used to have a railway system that connected Argao in the south to Danao in the north, but it was severely damaged during the Second World War.

After the meeting, Batan explained to reporters that the project is still in the pre-planning stages. He said they don’t have any concrete timeline, estimated costs or source of funding.

The plan is to build a 67.5-kilometer underground passenger railway line or subway system that will connect Carcar City in the south to Danao City in the north.

Batan said this will be similar to the ongoing construction of the 33-kilometer Metro Manila Subway in the National Capital Region.


During the discussion with the governor, the idea of implementing the project through a public-private partnership (PPP) at the local government unit (LGU) level was brought up.

“We are excited about the possibility of another first: potentially the first subway that will be entirely financed by the local government through various funding strategies and without requiring national government funding,” Batan said.

Under the Metro Cebu Urban Transport Master Plan in 2019, Batan said the railway-based transport backbone was identified as a crucial transportation system to address Cebu’s growing need for mass transit.

“The beauty of the subway as first seen in the subway in Metro Manila is that between stations, we are tunneling underground and people don’t even know that we are already building underground, and that is what we are planning to do in Cebu,” he said.

According to the DOTr’s presentation during the meeting, the proposed subway system aims to reduce traffic congestion and travel time, improve interconnection and passenger and commuter service, increase climate resiliency, and provide a more accessible public transportation for vulnerable groups and persons with limited mobility.

The masterplan has two phases: Phase 1 will be the Urban Mass Rapid Transport (UMRT) Central Line that will connect Danao City, Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion, Mandaue City, Cebu City, Talisay City, Minglanilla Naga City, San Fernando and Carcar City.

Phase 2 will be the UMRT Coastal Line that will connect Talisay City, Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City.

The Metro Cebu Urban Transport Master Plan was completed in 2019 and was formulated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

According to a post on the Facebook page of the Cebu Provincial Public Information Office on Thursday, Garcia proposed to the DOTr delegates to allow Cebu LGUs to take on the implementation of the proposed project, while the DOTr will maintain supervisory control.

The report added that the Provincial Government shall introduce the project to private firms through its Economic Enterprise Council (EEC) for a possible PPP collaboration, subject to the rules and regulations set by law.

With the LGU implementing the project, the necessary permits and the cooperation of the LGUs involved will certainly expedite the execution and completion of the proposed subway project. / EHP


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