DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 June) – Transportation Secretary Art Tugade said on Tuesday that the government aims to award the contract for the project management consultancy services of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) to the winning bidder next month.
Tugade said in an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is currently undertaking activities in preparation for the construction of the railway project, including the conclusion of the procurement of consultancy services.
Based on the General Bid Bulletin No. 2020-01 posted on the DOTr website on December 27, 2020, the department, pursuant to the applicable executive agreements between the Government of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, intends to apply the sum of P3.094 being the approved budget for the contract to payments under the contract for the Project Management Consultancy Services (PMCS) of the MRP Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment. Bids received in excess of the approved budget contract will be automatically rejected at bid opening.
The transportation chief said he is optimistic about the partial operability of the first 102-kilometer segment of the MRP, which will start from Tagum City, passing through Davao City, and then to Digos City, before the end of term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
The cost of the entire TDD line is pegged at P81.7 billion.
Last May, Engr. Neil Gabriel Bonto, MRP deputy project manager, said that the DOTr is committed to have a partial operability of the segment between Tagum City and Carmen, Davao del Norte, with a distance of 15 kilometers.
Tugade assured that the railway project would be pushed through.
He explained that the Philippine government is waiting for a list of three shortlisted bidders for the design and build from the Chinese government before it can proceed with “procurement and construction.”
“At present, we are just waiting for the shortlist of bidders for the design and build contract to be provided by China. The process is that China will provide a list of three bidders and there will be a bidding among themselves. As soon as we receive it, procurement and construction will follow,” he said.
Tugade said they target to commence construction before the end of this year.
He said the agency is also undertaking the geotagging to locate the position of the railway path and completing the acquisition of the road right of way (RROW).
Atty. Clipton Solamo, DOTr-MRP project manager, said that the completion of the entire TDD line will take about 17 months, and may be fully operational by June of 2023.
The stations of TDD line will be located in Tagum, Carmen, and Panabo in Davao del Norte; Mudiang, Maa, and Toril in Davao City; and Santa Cruz and Digos City in Davao del Sur.
Bonto said the units to be used for TDD line are diesel-operated but assured it would not cause any environmental problems related to smoke emission, assuring the public that the technology used is modern and similar to the ones used in some countries in Europe.
But he also noted that the project “has a provision for future electrification.”
DOTr said the TDD segment will reduce travel time from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours between Tagum and Digos Cities and will provide “passengers safe, fast, and reliable transport options on the TDD commuter line.”
It is expected to serve approximately 134,000 riders a day by 2022, up to 237,000 by 2032, and 375,000 by 2042. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)