By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Eymard Eje will be presenting to the City Council of Davao on Thursday the final alignment for the Davao City side of Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway Project (MindaRail).
Eje said the DOTr will make a presentation before the city’s third district councilor Jesus Joseph P. Zozobrado, chair of the committee on public works and vice chair of the committee on transportation.
The transportation official heads the agency’s project management office based in the city, which oversees the implementation of the Tagum City-Davao City-Digos City line of the railway project and meets with consultants and stakeholders including the local government units (LGUs).
Phase 1 will have eight stations, namely: Tagum; Carmen; Panabo; Mudiang in Bunawan, Davao City; Davao Terminal; Toril; Sta. Cruz; and Digos.
Second District Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said earlier that the local council requested an explanation from DOTs on the technical aspect of the project, particularly the final alignment of the railway project before the body gives its legislative approval.
Citing the Local Government Code of 1991, he said all national government projects must have approval from the city council.
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim said the proposed railway project, particularly the change in scope and the project cost, will be presented to the Investment Coordination Committee of NEDA.
She said, hopefully, the committee will endorse it to the NEDA-Board within the first quarter of this year.
The DOTr initially proposed a one-track and diesel-run locomotive railway project. Changes have been made after Mindanawons criticized the project.
Changes in the project scope included changing from a single track to dual track railway; from diesel to electrified railway with 25 kV electrified overhead for the catenary system transmission of electrical energy to the trains wherein the wires are situated above the rails and 26 electrical multiple units; from 102-km. fully at-grade railway to 100 km railway with viaduct for the 26-km. elevated portion; and addition of the satellite depot in Davao City aside from main depot to be located in Tagum City.
These changes also brought the cost up from P35.257 billion to P97.386 billion, which requires the government to
explore foreign loans such as official development assistance (ODA) from Chinese government.