THE OFFICE of the Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao (Opamin) is optimistic the current administration will not totally desert the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP).
“Pinag-aaralan na ituloy yan, may mga nire-review lang na mga bagay kasi may mga concerns pagdating sa opisina ng Presidente, pero itutuloy yan, pangako sa atin ng Presidente,” said Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao Sec. Leo Tereso Magno in an ambush interview after Kapihan sa PIA, Dec. 18.
When asked who will bankroll the project, Magno said the matter is still being discussed but he is positive President Marcos Jr. won’t leave the project hanging.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) deputy executive director Asec. Romeo M. Montenegro reported that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is creating a team to study the Cagayan-Iligan segment of the MRP.
However, the Tagum City-Davao City-Digos City segment will be deliberated again by the National Economic Development Authority for the botched negotiations with China.
“This will probably be proposed to all other possible interested countries that would want to fund the TDD segment,” he said during Wednesday’s Media Forum at the Habi at Kape on Dec. 13.
The TDD is the initial phase of the railway project featuring eight stations from Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos. Upon completion, the Department of Transportation forecasts about 134,000 daily commuters and about 237,000 come 2032.
Initially, the transport department targeted the commencement of MRP-TDD construction first quarter of 2021 and partial operation of the line by the first quarter of 2022.
MinDA recently submitted an inter-modal masterplan study to the Japan International Cooperation Agency for possible consideration. The MRP is included in the plan.
The master plan tackled the transport connectivity in Mindanao, including but not limited to the location of commodities production and its shipping modes (via air, roads, and ports; looked into the category of well-paved roads and farm-to-market roads.
“We hope that the MRP which we hope to be pursued in the near future would be able to establish such a link as well,” he added.
The director is positive that once the master plan is implemented, it will drastically increase the competitiveness of Mindanao, in terms of export gateway, and as an investment and tourism destination.
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