Tugade says civil works were due to start on the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) next year but have been “expedited upon the agreement of the parties.”

“We are still on track,” Tugade says. “We are starting the groundbreaking and formal construction by the end of the year.”

The 25km 14-station line will link Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City with Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque City.

The government finalised a financing agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for the Pesos 357bn ($US 7.1bn) project in March.

The DOTr aims to open at least three stations - Mindanao-Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora and North Avenue - by 2022, with the remainder of the line due for completion by 2025.