THE Department of Transportation Region (DOTr) Davao Region has created a steering committee composed of with eight local government units in Davao region for the P90 billion Tagum-Davao-Digos (TDD) phase of the Mindanao Railway System.
“This what makes this project unique, it’s a national project but the great stake lies with the local government units. We insisted that people from Davao will have a say in this project,” Patricia Melliza B. Ruivivar, DOTr deputy project manager of the Mindanao Railway System said during the media forum on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at Habi at Kape, Abreeza Mall.
In order to secure an inclusive project for the railway system, Ruivivar said the committee will involve the partnership of eight LGUs in Davao Region -- the provincial governments of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur, along with Davao city, Digos City, Sta. Cruz, Panabo City, Carmen, and Tagum City.
“With this the railway system will be Davao-centric, and not Manila-centric because the railway system will benefit Dabawenyo people,” Ruivivar said.
According to the plan presented by DOTr, the steering committee will facilitate the quality and timely implementation of the railway system for the TDD route. The committee will also serve as the ad-hoc committee under the Regional Development Council Davao Regon.
“In this way, we can also ensure a much more transparent project processes with the help of the government units,” Ruivivar said.
Ruivivar added the main issue the department is currently facing is about the land acquisition.
“With the help of the participation from the government units, they can help fast track this project because they know the place better, and even with that they can help suggest where to place the stations for the railway system,” Ruivivar said.
The MRP-TDD segment is the first of the three segments of the Mindanao Railway Project. The other segments include the Davao-Nabunturan-Butuan (256km), Butuan-Cagayan de Oro-Iligan (285km), and the Iligan-Cotabato-Davao (289km).
The design and construction of the project will begin by third quarter of next year and is expected to be completed by end of 2021.
According to DoTR if the project is implemented and starts operating at 2022, the 102-kilometer segment is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum City to Digos City, from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours.
Ruivivar said the Chinese Official Development Assitance has already confirmed in funding the railway system.
Meanwhile, Ruivivar said the government is targeting to build a total of 482 kilometers of railway in Mindanao by 2022.
She said the railway will cover Davao Region until Northern Mindanao. The connection from Davao City to to Cagayan de Oro via Malaybalay City in Bukidnon will cut travel time from six hours to two hours.
Ruivivar added that as more cities and municipalities in Mindanao are connected, it will spur economic growth. (GAD with Jannine Joyce Cartagena and Danielle Alexis Rendon, AdDU Interns)