PHILIPPINES President Joseph Estrada officially inaugurated the first section of Manila's light rail Line 3 on December 15. After cutting a ribbon at the North Avenue terminus in Quezon City, he rode one of the CKD-built articulated LRVs along the 10 km route along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue to Buendia station in Makati. Running along an eight-lane highway regularly clogged with traffic, the line is expected to save around 10 million man-hours of delay each week.

EDSA promoter Metropolitan Rail Transit Corp says the southern section of the line, which is being marketed as Metrostar, should be ready to open by mid-2000. Running from Buendia to an interchange with LRTA Line 1 at Taft Avenue, this will add a further 6·8 km. Total cost of the first phase is now put at US$655m.

MRTC is currently negotiating with the government to build the second phase of the line, which is costed at US$235m. This would run west from North Avenue to Monumento, where it would connect to the northern end of Line 1. If MRTC gets the go-ahead early this year, it hopes to open the second phase by mid-2002 (MR 98 p49).