Mindanao Rail Project right-of-way talks ongoing

Published April 30, 2021, 3:58 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) targets to complete the acquisition of the road right-of-way (RROW) for the 102-kilometer Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) by the third quarter of 2021.

During a virtual news conference on the 2020 Economic Performance of Davao Region in Davao City Thursday, Maria Lourdes Lim, regional director of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-Davao, said that negotiations for the acquisition of RROW for the depot and stations sites of the Tagum City-Davao City-Digos City (TDD) segment of the railway project is ongoing with the residents whose properties are situated on the railway path.

She said acquisition rates vary in Tagum City, Carmen, and Panabo in Davao del Norte; Santa Cruz and Digos City in Davao del Sur; and Davao City.

Once completed, Lim said actual construction of the Phase 1 is expected to commence by the fourth quarter of this year or only months away before President Duterte steps down on June 30, 2022.

She said loan negotiations have yet to be finalized between the Philippine and Chinese governments. The project cost of the TDD segment is pegged at P81.7 billion, according to DOTr.

“However, the loan negotiation between governments of Philippines and China – this is an ODA (Official Development Assistance)-funded project – is still being perfected,” she said.

The TDD segment is the first phase of the 1,550-kilometer MRP that aims to connect key cities of Davao, Butuan, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Cotabato, Zamboanga, and General Santos upon its completion.

Lim added added that the Chinese government will still have to identify three shortlisted Chinese bidders that will participate in the “tendering process for the actual construction of the railway TDD segment.”