By Jong Cadion (Sun Star CDO)
The conduct of the feasibility study for the formulation of a strategic railway development plan for Mindanao will be finished within this year, this was the information relayed by Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Usec. Guiling Mamondiong.
During the Regional Development Council (RDC)’s 129th meeting at the Liga City Convention Center recently, the DOTC presented its strategic Railway Development Plan for Mindanao, pre-feasibility studies and technical assessments for the different railways section which is targeted for completion the 3rd quarter of this year.
According to the initial strategic railway development plan for Mindanao, the project aims to connect urban centers and provincial capitals in Mindanao such as Zamboanga, Pagadian, Dipolog, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Marawi, Cotabato and Davao cities.
Three private consultancy firms—the TCGI Engineering, DMI Management Engineering and Woodfields Incorporated were named and tasked to conduct the study for the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) within five months.
At present, only the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor has finished its full-scale feasibility study while that of the Cagayan de Oro-Davao-General Santos line is ongoing and that of Iligan-Zamboanga City line is still in the technical assessment level.
When realized, travel time in the 145-kilometer Iligan-Cagayan de Oro route will be shortened by 15-20 minutes in contrast to the present three-hour travel time by bus.
During the RDC meeting, the MRS was considered a priority project as members felt the need to have a fast, efficient and cost effective integrated public transport system for Mindanao.
Last January, several Mindanao lawmakers recommended to President Gloria Arroyo the funding for the construction of the MRS.
The congressmen, led by Speaker Prospero Nograles have been pushing for the MRS project for the island’s accelerated growth and development.