As we all know, a country’s economy relies on the transportation of goods, time, and most important – the movement of people. If one of these aspects suffer, it would be detrimental to the economy.

Although it’s unfortunate to admit, the Philippines has been having a difficult time keeping these particulars in motion – and I mean that in the literal sense, specifically for Metro Manila.

It’s no secret that the country’s capital has a troubled relationship with traffic and in recent years it seems to only be getting worse. 

Due to this, Metro Manila is often a mainstay in the list of cities with the worst traffic congestion in the world. Earlier this year, it ranked second in traffic index tracker TomTom’s (TOM2) annual roster – with drivers having to spend 53 percent more time on travel due to excessive overcrowding in thoroughfares.

Most significant to note is that the country is losing out on P3.5 billion in revenue due to traffic congestion – and that’s only in a single day.

To address the worsening state of traffic in metropolitan Manila, the national government is betting on several, key infrastructure projects – including the Metro Manila Subway. 

To know more about this traffic-busting transit line, scroll down below!


Photo from DOTr’s Official Facebook Page


The Metro Manila Subway, or the MRT-9, is among the many infrastructure projects lined up to alleviate traffic congestion and foster economic growth in Metro Manila.

It’s part of the Philippine Government’s Build! Build! Build! Program – specifically handled by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and to be accomplished in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

It’s being dubbed as the ‘Project of the Century’ with an overall price tag of ₱356.97-billion. It will be the first-ever underground rail line in the country and will serve up to 1.74 million passengers daily once completed.

MRT-9 Route

Photo from Google Maps


The underground rail line will run 36 kilometers from north to south, passing through the cities of Valenzuela down to Paranaque. 

It will have a total of 17 stations – 13 of which will be stationed below ground. Aside from this, the underground rail project will connect to existing and upcoming rail lines, particularly the LRT Line 1, MRT Line 3, MRT Line 7 through the Unified Grand Central Station, LRT Line 2, and the PNR Metro Commuter Line.

Here’s an artist’s render of what the stations will look like from the inside.

LOOK: A sneak peek of the Philippines’ first subway system— the future Metro Manila Subway. ABANGAN! #DOTrPH🇵🇭 #RailwaySectorWorks #BUILDBUILDBUILD #ComfortableLifeForAll

Posted by Build Build Build on Thursday, February 28, 2019

Construction and Contractors

Photo from the companies’ Official Websites


The construction of the subway will be divided into different phases. For Phase 1, three stations will be built – in particular ones that will be positioned in East Valenzuela, Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora Avenue, and North Avenue

In February 2019, the DOTr signed the contract for the design and build of the subway’s initial phase. 

The task will be undertaken through a joint venture between Japanese and Filipino contractors – the Shimizu Corporation, Fujita Corporation, Takenaka Civil Engineer­ing Co., Ltd., and EEI Corporation. 

Subway Trains

Photo from Sumitomo Corporation’s Official Website


The train cars for the MRT-9 subway will be sourced from Japanese manufacturers Sumitomo Corporation and the Japan Transport Engineering Company, which also supplied cars for the LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 railway lines.

A total of 240 cars were ordered for the subway line, which will be delivered in batches until 2027.


Photo from the Department of Transportation (DOTr)


Work on the 22-mile long rail line broke ground in February of 2019 at Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City, which will serve as the subway’s train car depot. Site clearing operations, detailed engineering designs, and other preparations were conducted to prepare the site for excavation work.

In February of this year, the largest part of the Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) needed for the excavation of the subway’s initial phase arrived. It’s part of a network of 25 TBMs set to fast-track the project.

Photo from the Department of Transportation (DOTr)

Photo from the Department of Transportation (DOTr)


According to DOTr, underground work for the rapid transit line is scheduled to start sometime in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

The venture’s first phase, which involves the setting up of stations in East Valenzuela, Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora Avenue, and North Avenue, is expected to be finished by 2023.

Want more news like this one? Head over to Nation Builder PH Business Section for the latest updates.

Image credit: Department of Transportation (DOTr)