Davao City, Philippines - In a statement written by Ernie Reyes and published at Interaksyon, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said he and presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte would push for the completion of the Mindanao Railway System (MRS).
According to Cayetano,their platform includes the completion of the Mindanao Railway System to make it easier to transfer food commodities from Mindanao agricultural areas to places like Cagayan de Oro.
The senator argued that if the national government can fund the construction of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in Metro Manila, which costs P50-billion worth of the public’s money, it can also do the same for Mindanao's long cherished dream of a railway system.
"Sa pamamagitan ng plataporma naming ito ni Mayor Duterte, haharapin natin ang hamon ng pagbabago, at sisiguruhin na ang bawat mamamayan ay makikinabang gobyernong may matapang na solusyon at mabilis na aksyon,” Cayetano said.
The National Economic Development Agency (NEDA) is said has started the feasibility study for the Mindanao Rail Transit System Project in July 2015. On their website, NEDA posted guidelines in the bidding for the feasibility study of the said project, and other major projects in Mindanao.
Omer Tiblani, one of the members of NEDA's ids and awards committee, confirmed that there are eight firms who have shown interest in conducting the feasibility study for the MRS.
The agency will spend 30 Million PHP for the winning bidder. Among the tasks of the winning firm is to identify the proposed project's contribution to the Southeast Asian regional integration master plan on ASEAN Connectivity. They will be given 11 months to complete the study, which will then be forwarded to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), the implementing agency.
They said the railway will strategically connect major cities in Mindanao, including Davao City, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga City, Cotabato City, Marawi, Pagadian, and Dipolog via the railway system. According to NEDA, the proposed project once implemented “will play a major role towards improvement of Mindanao’s intra island accessibility, linkages and seamless multimodal transport networks.”. With high hopes of boosting the economic development of the region.
Aside from the firm who will be granted by NEDA to do the feasibility study for the MRS, a German firm will also conduct its own feasibility study according to an official of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA). The Midanao Rail Trnasit System Project, which has been proposed since the 1990's by then Misamis Oriental Rep. Augusto Baculio but never took off. Finally, after more than two decades, there have been high hopes that the project might be realized.
What do you think, is MRS would be feasible and beneficial for Mindanaoans?