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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Mindanao Railway Construction Will Finally Starts in the 1st Quarter of 2020

There has been delayed in construction of the Mindanao Railway Project since 2018 and it is already 2020! With just a couple of years left under Duterte's administration, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade wants to assure everyone that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is working at top speed, especially for the ongoing and remaining projects. One of which is the Mindanao Railway System, of which construction would begin in the first quarter of this year.

Construction of the first segment of the country’s first train system outside Luzon will start first quarter this year (2020) and is expected to be completed by end of 2021, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr). DOTr Assistant Secretary for railways and Mindanao projects Eymard Eje said bidding for the construction of the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project was scheduled in November 2019, with the project’s groundbreaking set by early this year.

Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway Project is the 102-km Mindanao Railway Project: Tagum-Davao-Digos (MRP-TDD) segment is the first of the 3 segments of the Mindanao Railway Project. “The P35.91 billion MRP-TDD will make travel time faster by two (2) hours, with a frequency of trips of up to 6 trains per hour,” says DOTr Undersecretary for Rails, Cesar Chavez.

The MRP-TDD is expected to not only make travel faster but also safer, more convenient and comfortable for passengers in the said corridor. It will have 8 stations, namely: Tagum; Carmen; Panabo; Mudiang; Davao Terminal; Toril; Sta. Cruz; and Digos. A 10-hectare depot will be built in Tagum. The railway system is designed to accommodate around 110,000 passengers daily in its opening year.

The rail line will be built with a single track, with provisions for future tracks and electrification. It will have six 5-car passenger trains (Diesel Multiple Units) with 3 spare cars, 4 locomotives, and 15 freight cars.

The Mindanao railway project in its entirety will consist of 1,532 circumferential and spur lines that will connect Davao provinces, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos City, and Zamboanga.

Mindanao Railway: Delayed!

The Mindanao Railway, however, has been set back by changes in its basic plan. Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade said last year that he wanted double-tracks instead of single, standard tracks instead of narrow and electric trains instead of diesel. This is the modern train project now underway in Central Luzon, he said. Mindanao should have the same.

Well, since we are constructing a railway system in this era, it is just right to construct it with the latest technology. Mindanao is not different from Luzon, so what the government can do with Luzon is also possible in Mindanao and once the Mindanao Railway Project will be completed, it will give significant changes in Mindanao, in terms of economic, transportation, and tourism.

In a social media post, Mindanao Development Authority chairman and former Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said he had asked the consultants and planners of the project to consider the coastal areas of Surigao down to Davao Occidental and Sultan Kudarat province as both coastal regions could be transformed into major food production and tourism areas if connected to the railway system.

He said the Mindanao Development Authority would provide the consultants a commodity map of Mindanao to help them identify key production areas on the island.

Mindanao Railway, a Big Help for Farmers in Mindanao

Mindanao wouldn't be the neglected land anymore and more and more places in Mindanao will be discovered and its potential will be explored. Crops and products will be distributed in just a short time, unlike at the current state where farmers are having a hard time to deliver their crops and harvests to the market because of the slow and lack of basic transportation.

Mindanao Railway Will Open the Gateway to Different Tourist Spots in Mindanao

Exploring the beautiful beaches in Mati, Davao del Sur will be possible on a short journey from anywhere in Mindanao. Or taking a relaxing weekend getaway at Cagwait White Beach in Surigao del Sur is just an hour journey from Cagayan de Oro City which can be reached for about 6-8 hours in today's bus transportation system.

Cagwait White Beach, Surigao del Sur
Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig, Surigao del Sur will only be a few hours travel from Davao, CDO or Butuan. Surfing in Siargao can be a weekend hobby of the Cagay-anons or Davaoeños because reaching Surigao City to ride a ferry to Siargao Island is just a 2-hour journey which at the current state of transportation can take you a tiring 8-10 hours land travel.

Surfing in Siargao Island

Zamboanga can be reached from CDO for only 3-4 hours from the current travel time via a bus of 10-14 hours. Exploring the Lake Sebu and Seven Falls in South Cotabato will be very convenient when traveling from anywhere in Mindanao.

Punta Isla, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
You will see the fast progress in Mindanao in all aspects when the railway system comes to its completion because the only hindrance of Mindanao to obtain its potential is the current transportation system that we have had. We are all hoping to see a progressive Mindanao in the coming years when all the phases of the Mindanao Railway System will be completed.

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