MANILA — The construction of the Mindanao Railway project is finally taking off after a House panel approved a PHP6.58 billion budget to fund its initial phase, the Department of Transportation said.
DOTr Assistant Secretary Timothy John Batan said the railway project will spur growth and development in Mindanao.
“The DOTr sincerely appreciates Congress’s strong support for the Mindanao Railway Project, which will deliver long-awaited and much-needed investment for the development of Mindanao,” Batan said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The House Appropriations Committee allocated PHP6.58 billion to fund the project’s first segment which will traverse from the cities of Tagum, Davao and Digos.
Construction is expected to start by the third quarter of 2018.
The appropriation comes more than a month after the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) approved Phase 1 of MRP. Estimated project cost is PHP35.26 billion via general appropriations.
During the deliberations, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a member of the committee, said the MRP “is an enormous project” that should be implemented soon.
Phase 1 is a 105 kilometer (km) rail line that is expected to reduce travel time from Davao del Norte to Davao by more than an hour from the current three and a half hours.
It will have eight stations: Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos with the construction expected to begin by third quarter of 2018.
Once completed, the entire Mindanao Railway System will run for a total of 1,530-km, connecting Davao provinces, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Zamboanga. It is targeted for completion by 2021.