TAGUM CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the first and second phases of the Mindanao Railway System will be completed within the six-year term of President Rodrigo Duterte, and construction of Phase1 will start early next year.
Alvarez told a press briefing during the launch of the Tuason-owned Hijo Industrial Estates in Barangay Madaum here on Friday that the national government will fund the acquisition of the right-of-way while rest will be funded through the official development assistance (ODA).
The 102-km. first phase will run from Tagum City passing through Davao City until Digos City, and will cost around P35.91 billion.
The Speaker said he is not aware what country will fund the construction of the 1,500 – km. railway system, with a cost being placed at $9 billion or equivalent to P445.3 billion but he said, aside from Japan and China, a “lot of countries are offering.”
He said Phase 2 will connect from Tagum City to Butuan City.
The railway seeks to connect all key areas of the island such as Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, General Santos, and Davao.
“Just be patient,” he said.
In a press release issued on June 8, 2017, the Department of Tranportation (DOTr) said the first segment will reduce travel time from Tagum City, Davao del Norte to Digos City, Davao del Sur from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours once it starts operating in 2022.
It said the first segment is expected to not only “make travel faster, but also safer, more convenient and comfortable for passengers as it will have eight stations, namely: Tagum; Carmen; Panabo; Mudiang (in Bunawan, Davao City); Davao Terminal; Toril; Sta. Cruz; and Digos. A 10-hectare depot will be built in Tagum.”
It added the rail line will be built with a single track, with provisions for future tracks and electrification. It will have six five-car passenger trains with three spare cars, four locomotives and 15 freight cars.
Upon project completion, the DOTr expects the daily ridership of the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment to increase to 134,060 by 2022.
The Department projects the daily ridership to further increase to 237,023 by 2032 and 375,134 by 2042, it said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)