Top official of the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) has urged the national government to finally start the plan to establish the railway system in the island.
“It is sad to note that the implementation of the project has not yet taken off. The Department of Transportation (DOTR) is still busy in Luzon,” said MinBC chair Vicente Lao in an interview with the reporters.
Data from the Department of Budget and Management bared that a fund of P31.5 billion is already allocated for the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment, the first out of the 12 segments of the 830-kilometer railway network.
But based on the reports of the national paper, the DOTR, the agency tasked to pursue the project, is looking to bid the project beginning this June. The agency also targeted to start the construction of the first phase by the third quarter this year.
Lao said it would be best that an agency based in Mindanao should spearhead on the implementation of the railway system so it would give prime focus to pursue the project in the island.
The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) already proposed to the national government to make them the lead agency for the project.
Romeo Montenegro, deputy executive director of MinDA, said earlier that they discussed the proposal with the DOTr. “In principle, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade is okay on that proposal,” Montenegro said.
As of April, Montenegro said the national government was still completing the detailed engineering for the project. He said the detailed engineering is vital before the national government would start the bidding for the project.
MinDA further proposed that feasibility studies should also be conducted for 11 other segments of the network so these would be simultaneously implemented soon and be completed on or before 2022.
Montenegro said the DOTr also recently approved the proposal to pursue feasibility study on the second segment, the Tagum City and Butuan City portion. “The department (DOTr) is currently waiting on the budget for the feasibility study of the second segment,” he said.