Alonto wants feasibility studies on 12-phase Mindanao Railway started

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 April) — The chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) wants all feasibility studies for the 12 segments of the 1,532-kilometer Mindanao Railway System to be undertaken simultaneously with the construction of the first 102-kilometer segment from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Davao City and to Digos City in Davao del Sur.

MinDA Secretary Abul Khayr Alonto told the “Mindanao Today, Mindanao Tomorrow” forum at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao on Friday that the implementation of the entire project will take 20 years if studies are not conducted simultaneously.

Secretary Abul Khayr Alonto (center), Mindanao Development Authority chair, at the forum on “Mindanao Today, Mindanao Tomorrow” at Marco Polo Davao Friday (6 April 2018) where he revealed the proposed 24-percent budget for Mindanao. With him are Mara Warwick (left), World Bank’s Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, and Miguel Rene Dominguez, Philippine Business for Social Progress chair. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

He said they are also requesting the Department of AlonTransportation (DOTr) to make MinDA the lead implementing agency of the project that seeks to connect the major cities of the island such as Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, General Santos, and Davao.

Romeo Montenegro, MinDA Deputy Executive Director, said the engineering design of the first segment is expected to be completed by June 2018.

Upon completion, government will immediately bid out the project.  He said they expect actual construction to take place by end of this year or early next year.

The first segment, worth P35.257 billion, will cover 102 kilometers starting from Tagum to Digos via Davao City.

The first segment will comprise eight stations: Tagum, Carmen, Panabo all in Davao del Norte. In Davao City, the stations will be in Mudiang, Bunawan, the still to be determined Davao Terminal and Toril while the stations in Davao del Sur will be in Sta. Cruz town and Digos City.

A 10-hectare depot will be built in Tagum.

The DOTr said the railway’s first segment will reduce travel time from Tagum to Digos to 1.3 hours once it starts operating in 2022. At present, travel time between these cities is around three hours.

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.

The second segment of the Mindanao Railway System is Tagum to Butuan, according to Montenegro. (Antonio Colina IV / MindaNews)