Mindanao Railway project to start construction by Q1 2021

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — The construction of the first phase of ₱81.7-billion Mindanao Railway project is scheduled to start first quarter of 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

During plenary debates on Wednesday, Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago, sponsor of DOTr’s 2021 proposed budget, said that partial operation is expected by fourth quarter of 2021, while full operation is expected by second quarter of 2022.

The China-funded project is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum City, Davao del Norte to Digos City, Davao del Sur from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours once it starts operating.

This will be a single-track, non-electrified railway that will be consisted of eight stations in Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Sta. Cruz, Digos, and three in Davao City.

Violago noted that currently, the processing of right-of-way is being completed, with ₱4 billion already released to affected local government units.

However, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas asked why the shortlisting of potential contractors from China is taking long. She also questioned the approved design of the railway, which she said seemed outdated compared to other designs being used in the country.

Violago explained that China is just making sure that the “technically-capable and financially-capable” contractor will be given this project.

On the design, she explained that this was what the National Economic and Development Authority approved, which is considered to be the most “feasible and economical design.”