Big-ticket Mindanao projects pushing through – Magno

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DAVAO CITY – Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Leo Tereso A. Magno confirmed on Wednesday, June 19, that big-ticket projects for Mindanao would push through despite the withdrawal of original funder China.

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MAGNO (FB)

Magno, speaking at the Wednesday Media Forum here, emphasized his keenness to work closely with concerned agencies overseeing these projects to ensure progress, assuring the people of Mindanao that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is serious about these.

“The President said that these significant projects for Mindanao will push through. We are here specifically upon the instructions of the Office of the Office of the President to identify and pursue potential projects for Mindanao,” Magno said in a local dialect.

Magno cited one of these significant project as the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP).

He said that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is exploring alternative sources, such as Office Development Assistance (ODA) from foreign governments and international banks, while they secure the needed funds.

He said that DOTr Secretary Jaime J. Bautista mentioned that they are reviewing the project design as the initial proposal for the MRP was a diesel-powered train which Magno believes that the government will likely switch to electric-powered trains since most countries are using these nowadays.

According to the DOTr, the first phase of the MRP will commence with pre-construction activities in Davao City, Tagum, and Digos. The land acquisition for the project is ongoing from Tagum to Digos via Davao City.

MRP Phase 1 includes eight stations, spanning 100.2 kilometers, and has a projected cost of P81.6 billion. Upon completion, it is expected to serve around 122,000 passengers daily and reduce travel time from Tagum City to Digos City from three hours to just one hour.

It will cover 1,544 kilometers, connecting critical areas in Mindanao such as Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Cotabato, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, and Malaybalay.

“The DOTr, the project’s lead agency, is evaluating not the viability but the applicability of the existing design. The President’s announcement is clear: The MRP is still a go. They are just finalizing the details while the DOTr is refining the technical description and the funding,” Magno said.

While Magno could not specify the completion date for the railway project, he assured Mindanao that modernizing the region’s transportation and infrastructure remains a top priority of the government. He said this renewed commitment marks substantial advancement for Mindanao.

“I have no other reason but to help Mindanao. I want to find ways to bring more projects and assist more people here in Mindanao. It’s not only about projects; we must also ensure that aid reaches those in need,” he said.

The MinDA chairman emphasized the significance of translating national government support into tangible benefits for Mindanao. He said whatever the national government is supposed to provide for the people in Mindanao has arrived.

Bautista announced that the technical working group recommended an electric-powered railway system. He said the agency is still planning to make the railway a dual-track system rather than the original single-track.