THE Davao-Marawi Friendship Bus Route was finally launched on Thursday, February 24, 2022, in Marawi City after facing numerous delays.

In an online statement released by the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) on February 24, the Davao-Marawi Bus Route will utilize 15 Mindanao Star buses that will follow a Davao-Maramag-Talakag-Cagayan-Iligan-Marawi route.

The Davao-Marawi route is one of the three first-ever inter-regional routes going to and from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Barmm), particularly the Islamic City of Marawi, under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

“We have opened up the first of many routes, and this is my hope, coming from Barmm, going out of Barmm, and even within Barmm,” Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman lawyer Martin Delgra said on Thursday, February 4, during the launching ceremony.

The other two Barmm routes are Iligan City, Lanao del Norte - Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and General Santos City - Dipolog City via Cotabato.

The Davao-Marawi bus route was initially targeted to launch in November 2021 but was moved to 2022 to finalize the bidding of bus operators.

“In every route, naa mga aplikante na bus operators so ilaha pa nang i-bidding kung kinsa makadaog, mao tong isa ka-rason,” said Davao City Overland Transport Terminal Head Aisa Usop in a press conference last December 2021.

According to LTFRB-Davao and Minda, the so-called “friendship routes” will provide modern, safe, secure and comfortable public land transportation, as well as foster more economic activities and cultural exchanges among regions in Mindanao.

“Strong collaboration and fair partnership in having to come together... so that we will be able to bring about the movement of people in and around Barmm, as well as having an exchange and understanding between the people of Barmm and the rest of the country,” Delgra said.

The friendship routes are initiated by the Department of Transportation, LTFRB, the City Government of Marawi, and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications-Barmm.