DAVAO CITY – The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board will tackle the proposed PHP97-billion repackaging and realignment of the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) of the Department of Transportation (DoTr).
The proposed repackaging of the first phase that will cover Tagum-Davao-Digos segment which costs P34-35 billion will be funded by the national government according to NEDA XI Director Ma. Lourdes Lim.
“The Board will again consider DoTr repackaging of the TDD segment in terms of the project cost and project scope. This has not been approved yet,” Lim said in an interview.
She said that if the repackaging will be approved, the national government will consider Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) financing.
She added that the Chinese government has expressed willingness to finance not only the TDD segment but the whole MRP.
If ODA will be considered, Lim said, negotiations will follow with the Chinese government such as through exchange of letters.
“The Chinese government is waiting on the side for the negotiations for loan financing,” Lim said.
Another PHP6 billion was also set for road-right-of-way, site acquisition for the train station and depot.
Lim said the DoTr Project Management Office (PMO) is overseeing the negotiations and meetings with the consultants and the local government units.
The DoTr and LGUs of Tagum, Panabo, and Carmen in Davao del Norte, Digos, and Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur have already signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for road-right-of-way, however Davao CIty has not signed yet the MOA because of the ongoing realignment discussion, Lim said.
A subdivision in Davao City will be affected in train project. The homeowners’ association of Monteritz Classic Estates in Maa asked for the help of the city council for the modification of the project in Davao because there would be many houses that will be affected in the original design.
About 40 homes will be affected if the original design shall be implemented according to the association represented by its vice president, Dr. Victor Espino.
Lim said the request of the homeowners has been submitted to the DoTr and might be tackled when the DoTr convenes in a meeting.
The TDD segment covers a 102-km stretch which is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum City, Davao del Norte to Digos City, Davao del Sur from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours.
DoTr said the MRP-TDD is expected to not only make travel faster, but also safer, more convenient and comfortable for passengers.
It will have eight stations, in Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz and Digos. A 10-hectare depot will be built in Tagum.
It will be built with a single track, with provisions for future tracks and electrification and will have six 5-car passenger trains (Diesel Multiple Units) with three spare cars, four locomotives and 15 freight cars.