Cheapest train

MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte told Korean investors to find the cheapest light rail transit system, without
sacrificing on quality and safety, that can be built for Davao City.Duterte said in a press conference held Saturday at the Grand Menseng Hotel said  the city is not yet ready for a large-scale Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit projects in Metro Manila.

This is why he prefers a slightly elevated railway platform that would take less space as opposed to the high-elevation platforms like the LRT and MRT.

“They’re already here, the Koreans are here making the feasibility study,” Duterte said. “I wanted to make clear that we can’t afford the elevated trains. I just want a slightly elevated commuter train, the cheapest… cheap that the city can afford.”

The project will be on a built-operate-transfer scheme  similar to the Northern and Southern Luzon Expressways (NLEX and SLEX), he said. It will take five to seven years before investors of the light rail transit project, proposed by Korean Engineering Corporation (KEC), can get back their investment.

Duterte added that the gestation period alone for the feasibility study would take at least one year, with 2015 already fast approaching and half of 2016 will be spent for elections, he said that he needs somebody who can push through the project.

He added that this was one reason he’s still pushing for daughter and former city mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run again for mayor.

Last week, Duterte was in South Korea to meet the investors and discuss the project, reportedly using his own funds instead of government money. The mayor had earlier said that public officials were no longer allowed to go on government-funded lakbay aral trips.

According to the City Mayor’s Office, KEC would be conducting a feasibility study until first quarter 2015.

Last June, Duterte was visited by representatives of KEC headed by Professor Chae Il Kwon, chief researcher of Seoul National University’s transportation study group.

According to documents from KEC, the growth rate for traffic activities in the city was around 2.88 percent from 2007 to 2011.

KEC was also proposing two routes, with one railway being 13 kilometers and the other 17 kilometers.

“They’re really sincere,” Duterte said, referring to the Korean investors. “And they want to help us because at one time, we were there to help them.”

Duterte was referring to the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK), which saw combat during the Korean War from 1950 to 1955.

According to an archived copy of the PEFTOK’s website, the Philippines sent five battalion combat teams of a total of 7,000 soldiers, who fought as part of the 16 United Nations member states fighting in the conflict during the 1950s.