Railway to propel Davao city as premier commercial hub in Mindanao

Published March 8, 2021, 4:04 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – Newly elected Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) president Maria Lourdes Monteverde said the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) will enhance the role of this city as the premier commercial hub and center for education and health services in Mindanao.

Monteverde said in a statement that the business community here is anticipating the construction of the first phase of the railway project which will run from Tagum City to Digos City via Davao City (TDD Line).

She said the project will stir economic activities and encourage the establishment of more logistics hubs within the region that are considered critical in the time of pandemic.

The business leader said the 102-kilometer TDD Line would hasten the creation of the Metro Davao Development Authority which will provide a single direction towards developing the coastal cities and towns along the Davao Gulf. The body will be comprised of Davao City, Digos City, and Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, Panabo and Tagum Cities, and Carmen in Davao del Norte.

“The Davao City Chamber of Commerce supports the development of an efficient and resilient supply chain between regions, with the MRP as a transport infrastructure for agriculture and tourism activities,” she said.

She said the construction of a railway could help provide a faster movement of freight, lower logistical cost, and more efficient transport.

She said it will decongest traffic along the major roads.

Monteverde hopes that the government, in implementing the railway, will complement proposed Davao City Terminals and the Davao By-Pass Road, to make transportation more convenient for Davao passengers.

The plan of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) even for a “partial operability” of the long-delayed Tagum City-Davao City-Digos City (TDD) segment of the Mindanao Railway Project before the end of President Duterte’s six-year term looks encouraging, Romeo Montenegro, assistant secretary of the Mindanao Development Authority, added.

He said there is a conscious effort to fulfill the promise of the Duterte administration to implement the priority projects in Mindanao despite various challenges.

“The plan even for partial operability of the long-cherished Mindanao Railway Project TDD segment within the current administration’s timeline looks hopeful,” he said.

Transportation Assistant Secretary Eymard Eje said the government is eyeing partial operability of the diesel-operated 102-kilometer TDD segment of the railway by March 2022.

Eje said the DOTr hopes to operationalize the section between Panabo City and neighboring Carmen town in Davao del Norte.