The Davao City Council passed on second reading Tuesday, April 23, a resolution favorably endorsing the Davao monorail project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Prior to its passage, a joint hearing of the Committee on Public Works and Highways and the Committee on Transportation and Communication was conducted last March 20, as part of the requirements of the Local Government Code of 1991.

Udenna Infrastructure Corporation has been granted by DOTr the Original Proponent Status (OPS) for its unsolicited proposal of the project under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

The P29.99-billion project will be a 13-kilometer straddle-type monorail system from Bangkal to SM Lanang through the Central Business District of Davao City.

Udenna Infrastructure business development manager Manuel T. Jamonir thanked the local council for endorsing the monorail project, saying the project will provide a long-term transportation solution in the city.

"Mass transit system such as monorail is the best-fit technology to cater the current and future ridership requirements of the city," Jamonir said.

Although there were no objections during the committee hearing, Jamonir said the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) had some concerns with the concession agreement between Udenna and DOTr, of which they are already preparing their responses.

He also said they are also having minor problems in the right of way acquisitions, which he said will not have a huge hindrance in the project's kick-off.

"On the right of way, we have to two items to cover: the land where the train will traverse, (which) we're addressing the issue and is already covered in our cost. The other one is the utilities who will also be affected in the project will also be covered, since we already had a discussion the utility companies for the relocation of the utility infrastructure," Jamonir said.

He said they are expecting that the construction of the detail engineering design will start early next year, while the target construction is targeted to start in 2021, with an estimated three to four year construction duration.