DOTr Assistant Secretary for railways and Mindanao projects Eymard Eje said bidding for the construction of the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project is scheduled on November, with the project’s groundbreaking set by early next year.
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Mindanao Railway starts construction in Q1 2020
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Construction of the first segment of the country’s first train system outside Luzon, which will be financed through an official development assistance from China, is poised to commence by the first quarter of next year, with its contractor to be known before the year ends, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

DOTr Assistant Secretary for railways and Mindanao projects Eymard Eje said bidding for the construction of the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project is scheduled on November, with the project’s groundbreaking set by early next year.

China will provide a shortlist of three contractors for the project. The DOTr will then select which contractor will undertake the project through a limited competitive bidding.

Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway Project is a 102-kilometer rail line that will link the Davao Region through Tagum, Davao City, and Digos.

The railway system is designed to accommodate around 110,000 passengers daily in its opening year.

The cost for Phase 1, or the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment, was increased to P82.9 billion from the previously approved project cost of P35.9 billion in 2017 to cover changes in the cost of structural and construction works that comes with the extended scope.

Despite the upward adjustment in cost, the DOTr earlier said China remains committed to finance construction of the project.

The railway system 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 loan agreement between the Philippines and China is expected to be in place not later than the second quarter of next year.

“Remember for China ODA funded project, it’s procurement first, contract award, then loan agreement signing,” Transportation Undersecretary for railways Timothy John Batan has said.

The DOTr said a group of Chinese engineering consultants is preparing the ground work for the succeeding phases of the railway system.

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, General Santos City and Zamboanga.

DOTr officials met with Mindanao Development Authority chairman and former Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol last week to discuss details of the Mindanao Railway Project.

In a social media post, Piñol said he had asked the consultants and planners of the project to consider the coastal areas of Surigao down to Davao Occidental and Sultan Kudarat province as both coastal regions could be transformed into major food production and tourism areas if connected to the railway system.

He said the Mindanao Development Authority would provide the consultants a commodity map of Mindanao to help them identify key production areas in the island.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION MINDANAO RAILWAY
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