Mayors from Mindanao have become more eager to push the materialization of the long-dreamed Mindanao Railway System (MRS) which they hope to expect initial operations by 2013.

The MRS is one of the three priorities that were presented before the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) led by Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co, also the LCP’s vice president for Mindanao.

The other two priorities were the conversion of at least 16 Mindanao municipalities which is currently pending before the Supreme Court (SC) and the plan to have a mayor candidate from Mindanao for president to the LCP.

“As of now, there are no other better projects for Mindanao that will contribute a total development except the Mindanao Railway System. We had agreed to fully support this project that will benefit all of us as far as boosting the island economic condition is concerned,” Co said.

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.

Project estimates have placed the total project cost at P66.5 billion (approximately $1.33 billion).
Construction of the Mindanao railway project is scheduled to start in 2011 with the initial phase connecting this city and the new airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental.

The railway project is envisioned to connect the rural and urban centers in Mindanao and is expected to boost commercial and industrial progress along the rail routes, including far-flung areas.

Since the backbone of national transport system has always been railways in Japan, United States (US) and other European countries, the construction of the railway is expected to address the needs of long-distance passengers, as well as the cargo and commercial requirements in the area.

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