The Tagum-Davao-Digos segment of the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) project is being coordinated with Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario as chairman of the Regional Development Council in the Davao Region.
This developed as the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the local government units of Davao del Norte, Davao City and Davao del Sur are set to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on November 29 for the initial PHP5.6 billion budget for the 102-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos line, the first segment of the MRS project.
Primarily the fund will be for acquisition cost of properties affected by the project.
“Everything will be finalized by the RDC,” said Engr. Arnulfo Manigo Jr, Tagum City Planning and Development Coordinator.
At the Kapehan sa Dabaw media forum at SM Davao Annex in Davao City on Monday, November 12, Manigo provided reporters a peek at current developments on the MRS in Tagum City.
Tagum City will host the railway’s 10-hectare main depot.
Manigo told reporters the P5.6 Billion initial fund is intended for the administrative cost and acquisition of properties affected by the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment of the MRS.
In Tagum City, Manigo said local officials and the DoTr have been conducting consultations with affected property owners, particularly in Barangays Mankilam and San Isidro where the depot will be located.
Manigo said the properties would be paid with “just compensation” based on “prevailing market values.”
The valuation of properties is now being discussed with the owners, he said.
He said the MOA between the LGUs and DoTr would ensure that government funds are spent properly.
“Everything will be finalized by the RDC,” he added.
The first segment covers 102 kilometers of rail line that is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum to Davao City and Digos. It will have eight stations located in Tagum City, Carmen and Panabo in Davao del Norte; Mudiang, Davao Terminal and Toril in Davao City; and Sta. Cruz and Digos City in Davao del Sur.
Construction is expected to begin next year with completion date targeted before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2022, according to Patmei Bello-Ruivivar, Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) Deputy Project .
The Mindanao Railway System, one of the 12 flagship projects under the Build, Build, Build program of President Duterte, is funded with a grant from the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).
The 1,530-kilometer MRS, which aims to spur the economic development of Mindanao, will connect the Davao provinces, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Zamboanga. (with PNA reports)