Does riding the geriatric Metro Rail Transit (MRT) make you feel like our rail system has been left behind by our Southeast Asian counterparts?

Fret not because preliminary plans are underway for the Philippines to catch up by constructing a multi-line subway system in Metro Manila as bared by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in an effort to reduce vehicular traffic and add mobility options to commuters.

The Management Association of the Philippines commends the DOTr plan but adds that EDSA should be prioritized as the main line for the subway system, starting from North Avenue in Quezon City to Makati City.

“The Management Association of the Philippines (M.A.P.) welcomes and supports a multi-line subway system being laudably considered for Metro Manila (MM) by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arturo Tugade. This initiative provides the catalyst for both the public and private sectors to focus and engage in a discourse on this ultimate mass transit option. Most large cities in Asia and elsewhere have subways while MM, although already a megapolis, is the notable exception,” MAP said in a statement.

Part of the plan also includes an east-west system that will be constructed under EDSA serving commuters from Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Ayala Center in Makati and the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City.

The MAP does however outline certain problems that may arise including subterranean rights under many private properties, which is why President Duterte’s emergency powers will be needed to facilitate planning and construction of the subway system.

“A presidential executive order to this effect will be helpful for planners and prospective proponents to provide focus and impetus. This EDSA subway can be named ‘Mabuhay Metro Line 1’ to signify a resurgent Philippines," said Eduardo H. Yap, Governor-in-Charge for MAP Traffic, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“Until ridership is shown to reach the critical mass and property value enhancements are sufficient to render this east-west subway line viable such that private investors are willing to undertake the project without government subsidy, (DOTr) Usec. Kintanar may want to consider other equally effective but more doable mass transit options in the review process. In most instances, governments here and abroad provide a subsidy to augment operating revenues. Such is the case with the MRT-3,” the statement added.