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Saturday, April 13, 2024

PBBM: Find funds for Mindanao railway project

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Finance (DOF) to seek funds to sustain the construction of the Tagum-Davao-Digos railway.

The President, in a speech, said he asked the heads of the two departments “to work in tandem to explore financing sources” for the 103-kilometer railway project.

Mr. Marcos said: “This ambitious project has been stalled by lack of funding, so let us go and hunt for the right funding engine that will pull this project to the finish line.”

“I have been briefed that financing railway models can be creatively packaged in a hybrid way with each component of the project undertaken, underwritten by different stakeholders,’’ he added.

According to the DOTr, the Mindanao railway project is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum City, Davao del Norte to Digos City, Davao del Sur from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours.

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The President delivered a keynote address during the 125th founding anniversary of the DOTr and the ceremonial signing of the civil works for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (DPTMP) in Davao City.

The DPTMP entails a 672-kilometer bus route network, encompassing 29 interconnected routes equipped with 400 articulated battery electric buses and over 500 diesel buses. Its objective is to establish a high-quality bus-based public transportation system, ensuring mobility and accessibility for Davao City’s burgeoning population and economy.

Upon completion, the project is anticipated to cater to 800,000 passengers daily and generate a proximately 3,000 employment opportunities.

President Marcos said asserted that the DPTMP will facilitate swifter and more comfortable commutes while alleviating street congestion caused by private vehicles, thereby enhancing road traffic flow and reducing pollution.

“As a catalyst for lifestyle change, it shows by example that there are feasible alternatives to commuting by private vehicles, that these can be left behind at homes, without having to be late for work, for school or for whatever you need to do around and about your places that you live,” President Marcos said.

Acknowledging the collaborative efforts of both public and private sectors, President Marcos expressed gratitude to the local government of Davao City for wholeheartedly supporting the DPTMP, assuring residents that their concerns will be addressed throughout the project’s implementation.

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