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Saturday, December 2, 2023

P100M set for study on N. Mindanao rail project

The Public-Private Partnership Center Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF) Committee has approved a P100-million fund for a feasibility study on the Northern Mindanao Railway (Cagayan de Oro) project.

The research will determine the alignment of railways, including the light rail/elevated railway from Barangays Bugo to Iponan and from Paseo Rotonda (Macasandig) to Macalaban port, passing through A. Velez St. to Pacana St. to barangay Puntod.

The project is also in line with a directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to “Build Better More” and the approved Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 which highlights the importance of mass transit systems around the country.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) in its social media page, said President Marcos’ envisions having railways beyond the National Capital Region.

“The railway will eventually connect and be interoperable with the entire Mindanao Railway System, carrying passengers and cargo,” the DoTr said.

“And through a solicited Public-Private Partnership, the project will provide high levels of service, convenient transfers, universal accessibility to persons with limited mobility, and be disaster resilient,” DoTr added.

Cagayan de Oro is the capital of Northern Mindanao Region and is one of the of the busiest logistics hub in the country. It has a day population of at least 1 million. It will soon serve as the seat of Metro Cagayan de Oro, the country’s 4th metropolis region after NCR, Cebu, and Davao City.

This is also not the first time that a study a railway in Northern Mindanao. The proposal for a railway goes back to the early 90s, with former presidents Joseph Estrada and Rodrigo Duterte promising a railway system for Mindanao.

The government established the Mindanao Railway Project Office (MRPO) in Cagayan de Oro City under the Philippine National Railways in 2010, to study the 124-kilometer railway system from Linamon town in Lanao del Norte to Jasaan town in Misamis Oriental. The study was part of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Industrial Corridor (CIIC) growth area.

When Duterte became president in 2016, he moved the train project to his home region in Davao City. the new proposed 102-kilometer railway stretch from the cities of Tagum in Davao del Norte, Davao, and Digos cities in Davao del Sur.

The proposed Northern Mindanao Railway is a 54.8-kilometer segment of the Mindanao Railway System (Phase 2) that spans across Cagayan de Oro, connecting the municipalities of Laguindingan and Villanueva Misamis Oriental.

It was identified in the 2021 Master Plan for the Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Development in Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro and will be an important transportation mode as Cagayan de Oro develops as the fourth metro area according to the National Spatial Strategy.

The railway will connect Laguindingan International Airport in the West to Villanueva and Tagoloan towns in the East.

Tagoloan and Villanueva host Phividec Industrial Park, where the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) and hundreds of light to medium industries is located.

“I’m very much thankful to DOTr headed by Secretary Jaime Bautista and Usec Cesar Chaves for their support for these projects,” Rodriguez said.

“As a highly urbanized city and soon to be a metropolitan city, Cagayan de Oro needs to prepare for efficient public transportation to ease traffic and pollution,” Rodriguez said.

“The railway projects in CdeO and Northern Mindanao are very much long overdue. And I thank President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos through his ‘Build Better More’ program for supporting the railway projects in Mindanao,” Rodriguez added.

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