Construction of railway targeted to start in Q1 2023

Contributed photo
Contributed photo

AFTER much delay, the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) is targeted to commence its construction in the first quarter of 2023.

In a press release from the Panabo City Information Office (CIO), the committee of Resettlement Planning and Implementation, Site Selection and Development conducted a meeting on Thursday, January 12 on the railway project.

The meeting also led to the approval of the resolutions by the Local Inter-Agency Committee (LIAC) necessary for the project to start.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the 100.2-kilometer railway is targeted to kick off earlier this year.

The Panabo-CIO reported that the railway project will affect 91 families who are tagged as informal settlers from seven barangays in the city, namely Barangays Datu Abdul, Little Panay, Maduao, New Visayas, Quezon, Southern Davao, and Tagpore.

The affected families will be relocated to Barangay Maduao.

The three-phase MRP covers 1,530 kilometers of circumferential and spurs rail lines connecting several areas in Mindanao like the Davao provinces, Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City, General Santos City, and Zamboanga.

Phase 1 of the MRP (Tagum-Davao-Digos segment) is a 105-km line that is expected to reduce travel time from Davao del Norte to Davao del Sur from 3.5 hours to just 1.3 hours. It will have eight stations: Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos. A 10-hectare depot will be built in Tagum City.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, during his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, 2022, vowed to continue the implementation of the MRP under his administration.

Marcos, earlier July last year, ordered DOTr to revive its negotiation for the loan agreements with China for the funding of the three big-ticket railway projects of the government under the Build, Build, Build Program. This came after the Chinese government failed to act on the funding requests by the Duterte administration.

The Davao-Digos Railway Project failed to proceed after China was not able to submit a shortlist of contractors.

The negotiations for the projects started in 2018. The loan application was only valid until May 2022.

DOTr said on August 14 that the Philippine and Chinese governments have restarted talks regarding the major transport projects in the country.

Meanwhile, City First District Representative Paolo Duterte filed House Resolution (HR) No. 286, which calls for a congressional investigation of the proposed MRP, specifically on the way the Department of Transportation (DOTr) carried out its right-of-way acquisitions and expropriation of private properties to be affected by the rail line.

He said the railway project was hounded with several complaints and anomalies.

The lawmaker said he received numerous complaints from Davao City residents whose residences would be directly affected by the proposed railway line. RGL


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