By Glen S. Ramos
CLARK, Pampanga – Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur M. Tugade yesterday signed the Mindanao Railway Project – Tagum-Davao-Digos (MRP-TDD) segment contract with China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC).
Emphasizing the decades-long delay of the railway’s construction, Tugade said the signing of the Project Management Consultant contract starts the government’s commitment to finally deliver the Mindanao Railway project.
“Since more than four years ago, when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, people were already expecting and people were already asking the question: ‘Where is the Mindanao Railway [project]?’ Today, we are saying that with the signing of the agreement, it is about to be born and it is about to be triggered into reality,” Secretary Tugade said.
The Mindanao Railway project is a 1,544-kilometer railway system connecting the cities of Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Cotabato, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, and Malaybalay.
The MRP’s first phase — the Tagum-Davao-Digos (MRP-TDD) segment — will have 100 kilometers of railway line to connect the cities of Tagum in Davao del Norte, Davao City, and Digos in Davao del Sur with eight stations.
The MRP’s first segment is designed to accommodate 122,000 passengers and will reduce travel time between Tagum and Digos from the usual 3 hours to just 1 hour.
China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC), the Project Management Consultant for the MRP-TDD, will assist the MRP-Project Management Office in the preparation and management of the overall project implementation program, including its land acquisition activities, coordination with concerned government offices, a review of the project’s detailed design, and supervision of construction activities, among others.
“I believe that the winning Chinese companies will do their best to fulfill their tasks, providing professional recommendations and consultancy to the project and offer its satisfactory management services. I also believe that with the close cooperation of all joining parties, we will work together to release more benefits to the peoples of our two countries,” Mr. Zhu Min, Chinese Embassy Chief of Economic and Commercial Counsellor’s Office expressed.
The massive Mindanao Railway Project, the first railway system outside Luzon, is one of the big-ticket infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration under the Build, Build, Build program. It is designed to help improve inter-island connectivity and boost economic development in Mindanao. (ai/mtvn)