China still keen on financing Mindanao Railway

Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — China is still intent on financing the first segment of the Mindanao Railway Project that will cut through the cities of Tagum, Davao and Digos in Mindanao, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

In a recent interview, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia said the progress on several infrastructure projects up for financing may be taken up during President Duterte’s visit in China this month.

“It’s scheduled for China (financing), as of now, the first segment,” he told reporters.

The Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee of NEDA approved last month the increase in project cost for the Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1-Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment (MRP-TDD) to P82.9 billion from the previously approved project cost of P35.9 billion in 2017.

This is meant to cover changes in the cost of structural and construction works that comes with the extended scope.

“There was an increase in the cost because it will go through some mountainous areas,” said Pernia. 

The Tagum-Davao-Digos segment will be a 102-kilometer rail line that will have eight stations and a depot in Tagum.

The project is now being envisioned to be a two-track, electric and standard train system, instead of a previously single-track system with diesel trains.

The Mindanao Railway project in its entirety will consist of 1,532 circumferential and spur lines that will connect Davao provinces, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Gen. Santos City and Zamboanga.

It is a key component of the infrastructure masterplan for Mindanao which also include the expansion and modernization of various airports, seaports, maritime facilities and the region’s public transportation system.

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