House ok’s P6.58-B railway project

THE appropriations committee of the House of Representatives has initially approved P6.58 billion to start the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP).

 Data from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) bared that the first phase of the project covers the stretch from the cities of Tagum, Davao and Digos. The budget approved by the house’s committee was a portion of the total project cost of P35.257 billion for the first phase.

 The transportation agency reported that the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment will traverse a total of 105 kilometers including the establishment of eight stations in Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz and Digos.

 The MRP will reduce travel time from Davao del Norte to Davao del Sur from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours.

 “It is expected to be operational by 2020 through DOTr’s effort to fast-track the right-of-way acquisition,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a statement.

 The first phase of the MRP is among the 11 projects that were approved by the NEDA Board on June 27.

 In line with MRP, there was also a proposal filed in the House of Representatives to create Mindanao Railway Corp. The proposal was already approved at the committee level specifically the house’s committees on government enterprise and privatization and transportation.

 There was also a proposed bill to establish Mindanao Railways Authority.

 Samar’s First District Rep. Edgar S. Sarmiento, vice-chair of the house’s transportation committee, said in a statement that the proposal to create the Mindanao Railway Corp., which would manage railway projects in the island, was originally filed in 1987.

 “But now in the 17th Congress, with our President coming from Mindanao and the proposal being among the top legislative agenda of the House, the long-awaited dream may come true with the construction and operation of the Mindanao railway system,” Sarmiento said.

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