₱65-billion light rail from Manila to Cavite begins construction

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 4) — Travel time for hundreds of thousands of commuters will be significantly cut, once a new 65-billion-peso (US$ 1.3 billion) mass transport system connecting the capital to Cavite is completed in four years time, officials said Thursday.

"The Cavite Extension will serve an additional 300,000 commuters and will significantly reduce travel time from Bacoor, Cavite to Manila from about two hours to about 40 minutes," said Light Rail Manila Corporation president and chief executive officer Rogelio Singson at the project's groundbreaking ceremony.

Construction of the 11.7-kilometer railway known as the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite extension begins on June and is expected to be completed in 2021, officials said.

The extension is expected to increase the entire LRT-1 passenger load up to 800,000 daily.

Eight new stations will be built along the LRT-1 extension which begins in Baclaran, the final stop of the existing LRT. These are the Aseana, Manila International Airport, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, and Dr. A. Santos stations in Parañaque City, Las Piñas and Zapote stations in Las Piñas City, and Niog station in Bacoor, Cavite.

Train speeds on the new line can reach a maximum of 80 km/h, with the stations accessible to shops, schools, and offices to make the travel convenient to passengers.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said in his remarks that the project was long overdue, having first been approved in 2011 by the National Economic Development Authority.

Tugade proposed construction to be round the clock, to speed up the project without compromising quality.

Light Rail Manila Corporation is a consortium of Ayala Corporation, Metro Pacific Light Rail Corporation, and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings.

Present at the groundbreaking ceremony held at Dr. A Santos Avenue and C-5 in Parañaque were Senator Cynthia Villar, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, former DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, and Light Rail Manila Corp. vice chairman Jaime Zobel de Ayala.