Mindanao rail phase one to go ahead even with funding uncertain — DoTr

THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it will continue to work on the first phase of the Mindanao Railway project after dropping China as funding source.

“We decided to pursue Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway project despite withdrawal of the prior funding commitment from the government of China. While looking for funding sources, various pre-construction activities show we are not dropping the project,” Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said in a statement on Tuesday.

The DoTr said it will continue the various pre-construction activities in Davao City while still negotiating funding for the project.

The first phase of the Mindanao Railway project covers the 102-kilometer segment from Tagum City, Davao del Norte to Digos City, Davao del Sur. This segment is valued at P81.6 billion.

Once finished, the line will serve around 122,000 passengers a day and is expected to reduce travel time to one hour from the current three hours from Tagum City to Digos.

In 2023, the DoTr announced that it is considering official development assistance from Japan, South Korea, and India to fund the government’s three major railway projects including the Mindanao Railway, after dropping China as funding source.

The decision to withdraw the Philippine request for official development assistance from China is due to lack of progress in signing a financing deal.

Mr. Bautista has said the DoTr is studying the feasibility of phase three, which will focus on cargo lines to the various ports in the region. — Ashley Erika O. Jose