Tag Archives: infrastructure


mindanao railway

Although it is implemented during his administration, President Rodrigo Duterte said credit for the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) should go to those who first conceptualized it and past presidents who supported the project.

The US$9 billion MRS that aims to spur the economic development of Mindanao, is one of the multi-million peso mega-projects under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

I cannot claim credit for it, not even congressmen, said Duterte, without naming names,  in a speech during a recent gathering of businessmen at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City, as he gave a preview of some projects under his administration’s massive infrastructure building program.


The proposed 1,530-kilometer MRS project   would crisscross Mindanao with a railway system from the Zamboanga Peninsula in Western Mindanao to the Davao Region in Southeastern Mindanao.

The idea of a Mindanao railway was an infrastructure dream supported by the presidency of the late Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino that was never realized due to funding lack.

A Davao City transit system was initially proposed by the Regional Development Council (RDC) of the Davao Region decades ago in the early 90s.

But the project never took off the ground after being proposed during the administration of the late then President Aquino by the Davao RDC then chaired by the late industrialist Jesus V. Ayala during the first term of then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Then Mayor Duterte during the Benigno Aquino administration also proposed a Davao City Light Railway Transport (LRT) system, but the proposal was not acted upon by government.

The Mindanao Railway System has now been given flesh under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

Implementation of the Mindanao-wide railway system has started to roll in the Davao Region.



The first railway component of the MRS — the P95 million Tagum-Davao-Digos (TDT) line — will be funded not by the Philippine government but by the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).

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.

The CIDCA funding shoots down a claim that Davao del Norte First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez facilitated funding for the TDT line under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) when he was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  

Alvarez, ousted in July 2018 two years into his term as Speaker and replaced by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is seeking reelection in the 2019 mid-term election.

In a bid to jack up figures in his performance card, his camp claims Alvarez during his short stint as Speaker poured P16 billion worth of infrastructure projects into Davao del Norte, including funding for the MRS TDT line, the proposed Davao-Samal Island Bridge and the Tagum City Flyover.

davao samal bridge

The P19 billion proposed Davao City-Samal Island Bridge, a 4.4-km span connecting Davao City to the Davao del Norte tourist island in the Davao Gulf, is still subject of a feasibility study.

The feasibility study funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is backstopped by the “Study on the Project for Construction of Davao-Samal Bridge” conducted by Katahira & Engineers International in 2016; and the Davao-Samal Bridge section of “The Study on the Davao Integrated Development Program (DIDP) Master Planning March 1999,” of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario who chairs RDC XI and Second District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. have urged President Duterte to fund the project under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Gov. del Rosario said that Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua informed him during a meeting in Davao City that the feasibility study on the Davao-Samal bridge is about to be finished.

tagum city flyover

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has also dismissed Alvarez claiming credit for the Tagum City Flyover.

According to the DPWH in Region Eleven,  the P3 billion  1.4-km Tagum City Flyover has long been in its drawing board and got funding as a “Build, Build, Build” project of President Duterte.


mindanao railway

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.

anthony del rosario
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)


Asks Filipinos to support Duterte infrastructure programs for faster  development

bong go c

Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Bong Go expressed his excitement over the proposed construction of a ‘super bridge’ that will link Mindoro Island to the Province of Batangas that is expected to improve mobility and increase economic activities in the region.

The project is expected to be implemented in 2020.
40371559_1866529720060216_2159184113871880192_nGo could not hide his feeling about the ‘super bridge’  as he  graced on November 11 the People’s Day of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines both in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and in Socorro, Oriental Mindoro.
The League of Municipalities is a formal organization of all the municipalities in the country represented by their Mayor. The League is organized into provincial and national chapters. 
Go said that the key to the advancement and development of the nation is for Filipinos to unite and work together in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s programs and agenda.
“We must unite and work together so that the programs of our President can be implemented efficiently,” Go said.
In his speech at the event, Go, a senatorial candidate,  said that like President Rodrigo Duterte, he is also pushing for rural development through the improvement of infrastructure and healthcare in the provinces. 
Go cited projects that are part of the Build Build Build program and his initiative of establishing Malasakit Centers all over the country as effective ways to improve the quality of life of every Filipino.
“Nais ni Tatay Digong na mapaunlad ang lahat ng bahagi ng Pilipinas at hindi lang ang Metro Manila, kaya nais niyang magkaroon ng mabilis na daloy ng komersyo mula at patungo sa malalayong lugar… Katulad ni Tatay Digong, prayoridad ko rin ang kapakanan ng mga nasa probinsiya,” Go said.
Other than the Mindoro-Batangas span, Go also mentioned the recently constructed 365 lineal meters Lisap Bridge, which connects two barangays in the innermost part of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro. 
“I’m excited for Mindoro because one of the government’s proposed infrastructure projects is the Mindoro-Batangas Super Bridge. With the support of your provincial government, we can make it happen. We all know that the government is spending billions of pesos on President Duterte’s Build Build Build program, and many of the projects under this program are already underway,” Go said in his speech at Philippines People’s Day in Socorro, Oriental Mindoro.
Go mentioned that next year, government plans to allot budget for each municipality for Green Projects based on the approved menu set by the Department of Budget and Management. 
Aside from infrastructure, Go also sees healthcare as a priority area for development in the provinces. Go committed to establish a Malasakit center in the island. 
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop program of President Duterte to hasten the delivery of medical services and give poor patients access to free medicine. A fast lane prioritizing the senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) is also available. Currently, there are 15 established Malasakit Centers nationwide. 
Go was cited by President Duterte for being “instrumental in arriving at the right decision through proper consultation” when he decided to put up Malasakit Centers nationwide. 
“Priority natin ‘yung mga indigent patients natin pero basta ikaw po ay Pilipino pwede ka mag-avail. Sa Malasakit center, hindi na dapat mahihirapan ang mga may sakit sa pagkuha ng assistance mula gobyerno,” he said.