THE proposed 28-kilometer monorail project, a mass transportation system to be established in Davao City, has been endorsed by the City Government to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and Philippine National Railways (PNR).

The project proponent is Korea Engineering and Construction (KEC), a Korean firm. The proposed project will cover the Toril to Davao International Airport route.

Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) officer-in-charge (OIC) Ivan C. Cortez said as mass transport system similar to the Light Railway Transit (LRT) and Mass Railway Transit (MRT) is under the jurisdiction of the national government, they had already recommended the project to concerned agencies.

"Last October 8, in a special meeting, Davao City PPP Board resolved to endorse the project to the proper government agencies for appropriate action on the proposal of KEC involving the establishment and operation of the monorail in the city. The route of the train will traverse from Toril up to the Davao International Airport," he said.

In the same meeting, officials agreed that "while there is an ongoing evaluation as to how the city government will treat and tackle the proposed Bus Rapid Transit, the PPP Board, does not see any hindrance if it will also push for the realization of a train system in Davao City alongside the BRT as the two will become complementary in servicing the transport needs of the people."

The KEC already submitted its feasibility study to Davao City PPP Board in May of this year. The proponent is eyeing to start commercial operations by 2021 with 36 trains for the initial operations.

The P30 billion monorail project, as per study, can be constructed along the center islands.

"Since it will be constructed along center islands it is expected that there will be less obstruction and disruption during the construction phase. The land acquisition will be done to secure areas for train stops or stations," Cortez said.

Based on the project description, the project’s total investment cost between 2016 up to 2020 is estimated at P40 billion including land acquisition and contingency.

The monorail’s daily passenger volume is projected at 92,000 in 2021 and is expected to double at 253,000 passengers per day in 2040. The project’s annual operating cost is pegged at some P880 million.

Passengers proposed fare is P15 for the first three km and an additional of P1.50 per succeeding kilometer.

Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said that the City government will subsidize a large portion of the commuters’ fare to greatly contribute to the productivity of the ordinary workers which in turn will hasten an inclusive national growth.

Duterte also said initial steps for the realization of the project should be taken now so by 2021, the government has already addressed a transportation need.

It is reported that the national government’s initial comment is Davao City will need a train system by 2021.