Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tell it to SunStar: Money for Mindanao Railway Project

THE country’s telecommunications firms should help pay for President Duterte’s national broadband network project that seeks to improve public access to high-speed Internet services in areas with inadequate connectivity.

The Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) is finally getting an initial P6.58 billion in funding.

The amount is among the items in the Rail Infrastructure Program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in the proposed 2018 national budget.
The MRP is “an enormous project that will require a lot of incremental funding and take several years to complete by phases.”

What is important is that the project is finally taking off, and not just being kicked around anymore.

The P6.58 billion will jump-start Phase 1 of the MRP--the 105-kilometer line linking the provincial capital of Davao del Norte, Tagum City, via independent Davao City, with the provincial capital of Davao del Sur, Digos City.

The railway will eventually be extended and run through the cities of Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Iligan, Surigao and Zamboanga.

All told, the MRP will cover around 2,000 kilometers, and may well cost up to P120 billion to build, with Phase 1 alone costing P36 billion.

There’s no question the railway will ease considerably the transfer of people and goods, and propel in a big way Mindanao’s overall social and economic development.

I am counting on the MRP to spur thousands of construction-related and support jobs that are bound to benefit low-income families.

Some 120,000 passengers are anticipated to hop on the train every day in its first year of operation.--Rep. Johnny T. Pimentel (Surigao del Sur, 2nd district)
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