By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE builder of the Makati City Subway Project is hopeful of completing the intracity railway a year ahead of schedule after obtaining an environmental clearance from the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR).

Antonio L. Tiu, president and chief executive officer of project proponent Philippine Infradev Holdings, Inc., told BusinessWorld Monday the company is looking to begin construction of the Makati subway before the year ends.

He said Philippine Infradev is currently working to get “hopefully before year end” its last set of permits — local government unit (LGU) construction permits — to be able to start work on the subway immediately.

This follows the company’s disclosure to the stock exchange yesterday that it has received the Environmental Compliance Certificate by the DENR last week.

If things go as planned, Mr. Tiu said the Makati subway may be completed “best effort 2024” — a year ahead of its 2025 deadline.

The $3.5-billion Makati City Subway Project is being undertaken as a public-private partnership between Philippine Infradev and the City Government of Makati.

Mr. Tiu’s listed firm is working with a consortium that includes Chinese firms Greenland Holdings Group, Jiangsu Provincial Construction Group Co. Ltd., Holdings Ltd. and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd.

The subway will have 10 stations traversing 10 kilometers of Makati City’s central business district, which the proponent hopes will help decongest road traffic by carrying about 700,000 passengers daily.

Makati Mayor Mar-Len Abigail S. Binay-Campos previously said the tunnel boring machine, an equipment that will drill through the ground to make way for the subway, is scheduled to arrive in December.

Aside from the Makati City Subway Project, Mr. Tiu’s other company Greenergy Holdings, Inc. is aspiring to build a “modern tramway system” in Manila City. An unsolicited proposal has been submitted to the local government last month.

Shares in Philippine Infradev at the stock exchange inched up 0.03 points or 2.36% to P1.30 apiece on Monday.