The government is exploring the possibility of prioritizing the development of the proposed Mindanao Railway, a proposal which was originally hatched during the Estrada administration and was pushed by then ARMM chairman Nur Misuari.
“Explore the possibility of prioritizing the Mindanao Railway,” stated an aide memoire of the National Economic and Development Authority following the recent consultation on the chapter on infrastructure under the 2010-2016 Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan.
Most recent project estimates have placed the total project cost at P66.5-billion, approximately $1.33-billion.
It is envisioned to be implanted in four phases: initially from Laguindingan to Cagayan de Oro City; second from Laguindingan to Iligan City ; third from Cagayan de Oro to Phividec area in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental and the fourth phase from Iligan City to Linamon town, Lanao del Norte. The project aims to cut the present 90-minute travel time by buys between Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to 15-20 minutes.
The initial Mindanao strategic railway development plan will link urban centers like Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Dipolog, Marawi, Cotabato and Davao cities.
The Mindanao Railway System project aims to provide a sage and economical transport alternative for moving goods and people in Mindanao , which in the long run, will help in the socio-economic development of the island.
The Mindanao Railway System is part of the list of projects identified and presented to investors for medium-term rollout at the recently-concluded Public-Private Partnership forum.
A feasibility study for the project is being reviewed and deliberated by the NEDA Regional Office 10, but a more detailed FS still need to be determined. Initial timetable points to a phased project implementation through PPP to be undertaken in 2011.
The proposed rail will span the entirety of Mindanao with a total length of approximately 2000 kilometers.
The master plan indicates connections to all major population centers in Mindanao. The railway network will be implemented in phases.
Phase 1 calls for the construction of a 124-km railway line from Iligan City to Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao.
It will traverse ten coastal municipalities in Misamis Oriental, namely: Lugait, Manticao, Naawan, Initao, Libertad, Gitagum, Laguindingan, Alubijid , El Salvador and Opol.
Earlier, the project was scheduled to start in 2011 with the initial spur of the first phase between Cagayan de Oro City and the new airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental.
But the entire project would take 5-7 years to complete.