THE Mindanao high-speed railway is seen to further improve the connectivity between cities in Mindanao once it pushes through said Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) chairman secretary Datu HJ. Abul Khayr Alonto.

Alonto, who was a guest during Wednesday's Hapi at Kape at Abreeza Ayala Malls on January 25, said once the MRS is completed, it would create greater connectivity for the people with its high-speed technology that would shorten the travel time from one city to another.

He said China will be funding the project.

Alonto said he has seen personally what the technology of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) is capable of as he cited the 34-kilometer railway tunneling system that this company had constructed in China.

“We are not talking about one company or two, we are talking about China railway company itself. All of them will be doing the job. It will be a government to government project,” said Alonto.

Alonto said there have already been talks between China and Philippines on how to go about with the project. He said they hope the construction would begin this year.

Also, he said after the agreement of the two countries had been sealed, it would only take two to three months before the construction would commence with the feasibility study already conducted.

“We are also addressing the labor issues because the trans-Mindanao railway system will generate more than 100,000 jobs. Twenty percent [of the job] will be [for the] Chinese because of the high technical requirements of the job but included in the agreement also is for every highly technical job, the deputy will be a Filipino so that the transfer of technology will be initiated. So 80 percent of the jobs are really for our countrymen,” said Alonto emphasizing that this number is only for the construction of MRS, not including the jobs that would be generated once it has started operation.

He said the railway system will improve the quality of life, strengthen Mindanao’s position, not only with the foreign relations but also our relations with other parts of the country.

“It will propel the economic revolution that President Duterte wants,” said Alonto.