Celso sees green light on Mindanao Railway Project PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 December 2017 16:51

After several feasibility studies, construction of the 830-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project will finally begin in 2018.

The proposed MRP will enhanced interconnectivity and linkages thru passenger and freight railway transport development and will further boost tourism, trade and commerce in Mindanao.

The proposed railway transport service will play a major role towards improvement of Mindanao’s intra-island accessibility, linkages and seamless multimodal transport network.

House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Public Works and Highways and Congressman Celso Lobregat said that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte – who is the first president from Mindanao – will start off with the commuter line from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur. When Duterte assumed the presidency a year ago, he announced the Mindanao Railway Network would be his first big project.

The board of the National Economic Development Autrotity (NEDA) already approved the P35.26-billion Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) Phase 1 in Tagum-Davao-Digos section.

Lobregat said that the government is targeting the 2nd quarter of 2018, as the commencement of the construction of the first leg of the Mindanao Railway.

The first phase of the 830-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project loop will be implemented by the Department of Tansportation (DOTr) through local financing. This phase involves the establishment of a 102.28-kilometer commuter railway from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos in Davao del Sur.

Meantime, the government has readied the P6.5-billion budget for land acquisition and engineering for the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment.

Lobregat said that this railway project will connect key Mindanao cities including Davao, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and General Santos.

The Department of Transportation will implement the project through the proposed Mindanao Railway Corp., which will be a government-owned and -controlled corporation, which is still pending creation and grant of Congressional franchise.

Total project cost—to be financed by the annual budget—will reach P35.911 billion, of which construction cost will amount P14.744 billion; rolling stock, P7.372 billion; land acquisition, P5.656 billion; price contingencies, P3.658 billion; physical contingencies, P2.932 billion; engineering cost, P1.106 billion and project administration, P442.3 million. Project implementation will take 59 months starting the first quarter of next year until the third quarter of 2022.

The project will involve a total of 338 hectares of right of way, of which 307 hectares will be for the main line, 11 hectares for the station yards, and 10 hectares each for the Davao terminal and the Tagum depot.

Daily ridership is expected to hit 134,000 in 2022 and increase to 177,000 in 2027, 233,250 in 2032, 297,690 in 2037, and 369,160 in 2042.

The project is expected to benefit the towns and cities covered, which have a combined area of 3,976 square kilometers and a total population of 2,181,109 at present.

Recalled that Congressman Celso Lobregat authored House Bill No.123 on June 30,2017 - creating the Mindanao Railways Corporation, prescribing its powers, functions and duties, and providing the necessary funds for its creation.

The bill was re-filed by Lobregat in the 17th Congress, as it was originally filed during the 16th Congress as Senate Bill No.3095, House Bill 3055, House Bill No. 5736, filed by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Representative Maximo Rodriguez and now DPWH Secretary Mark Villar respectively. – Dexter Yap/PR