P6.58 billion allotted for Mindanao Railway Project- Rep. Pimentel

The Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) is finally getting an initial P6.58
billion in funding, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a member of
the House appropriations committee, said Sunday.
The amount is among the items in the Rail Infrastructure Program of the
Department of Transportation (DOTr) in the proposed 2018 national
budget, according to Pimentel.
He described the MRP as “an enormous project that will require a lot of
incremental funding and take several years to complete by phases.”
“What is important is that the project is finally taking off, and not
just being kicked around anymore,” said Pimentel, also a member of the
House transportation committee.
He said the P6.58 billion will jump-start Phase 1 of the MRP – the
105-kilometer line linking the provincial capital of Davao del Norte,
Tagum City, via independent Davao City, with the provincial capital of
Davao del Sur, Digos City.
Pimentel said the railway will eventually be extended and run through
the cities of Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Iligan, Surigao
and Zamboanga.
All told, he said the MRP will cover around 2,000 kilometers, and may
well cost up to P120 billion to build, with Phase 1 alone costing P36
billion.
“There’s no question the railway will ease considerably the transfer of
people and goods, and propel in a big way Mindanao’s overall social and
economic development,” Pimentel said.
The lawmaker said he is also counting on the MRP to spur thousands of
construction-related and support jobs that are bound to benefit
low-income families.
Phase 1 of the railway is expected to cut travel time between Tagum and
Digos from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours, once the trains start operating in
2022, according to the DOTr.
Some 120,000 passengers are anticipated to hop on the train every day in
its first year of operation.
The railway will have a single track at the start, but will have
provisions for additional tracks plus electrification.
Phase 1 will have eight stations: Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao
Terminal, Toril, Santa Cruz and Digos. A 10-hectare depot will be put up
in Tagum.
Six five-car passenger trains will be deployed every hour. The trains
will also have 15 freight cars and three spare cars

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