Subway system for MM | Inquirer Opinion

Subway system for MM

12:03 AM May 30, 2016

ENRIQUE RAZON is one of those rare individuals who have advocated a subway system for Metro Manila. And you know what? He is right!

Skepticism and “are-you-joking-me” disbelief usually meet me for suggesting the same. Right away, people say “we can’t afford it.”


I counter right away, “Of course, we can afford it.”  Actually, the point is, “What makes us think we can’t afford it?”

If we add up the cost of not having a new rail/subway system—lost time, efficiency and productivity as we are stuck in traffic for hours; the pollution that our cars, jeepneys and buses spew and what it does to our health and environment; the cost of the gasoline we waste; the aggravation that takes its toll on our being—the total would more than make up for the amortization that is needed to pay for the subway system.


If there’s anything that the second Aquino presidency has shown us monetarily, it is that we are actually a rich country hobbled by the corruption and greed of politicians. Tax collection efficiency is growing and, in turn, we dream and demand the right to pursue our aspiration for ourselves, our family in an inclusive society—peacefully, securely and efficiently—a promise that incoming President Rodrigo Duterte has to fulfill.

Aside from greed and corruption, I believe, there are other reasons our leaders have not given serious thought to the subway system—a system that would allow us to leave our cars behind and travel more efficiently around the city.  Centuries of brainwashing made us believe that we are a lesser people, and thus do not merit to consider it as an option. Also, it is to the car dealers’ interest to keep the status quo. Common sense should have told our leadership that our road system capacity has its physical limit.

Let me quote a Voice of America report on Vietnam. “After many years of delays and debates, Vietnam now seems committed to a subway. Construction of the underground train system is taking place in Hanoi in the north, and Ho Chi Minh City in the south.”

If Vietnam can do it, why can’t we? That we have floods and rains? So does Vietnam.

A new rail/subway system would be the best thing for an inclusive growth that allows people the freedom to chart their own destiny more creatively.

It’s a matter of political will.

—JACQUELINE CANCIO VEGA, [email protected]

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