The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board has confirmed the earlier approval given by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee - Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) for the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment or Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP-TDD).

In its meeting on Friday, 29 November 2019, the NEDA Board confirmed the 10 July 2019 and 27 September 2019 approvals given by the ICC-CabCom for the project.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade thanked the decision of the NEDA Board, saying the move brings the Mindanao Railway Project closer to realization.

“This builds on the dream of President Rodrigo Duterte to generate development in Mindanao through an efficient rail system that will not only move people throughout the island of Mindanao, but will also generate needed economic growth,” said Secretary Tugade.

The MRP-TDD is the first phase of the proposed 830-kilometer MRP Loop. It aims to establish a 74-km at-grade and 26-km elevated (viaduct) commuter railway from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur.

Phase 1 will have eight stations located in Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary and Government Infrastructure Cluster head Mark Villar positively noted the NEDA Board’s decision.

“This project will surely benefit those who call Mindanao their home, and also those doing business in the island. As the first railway to be built outside of Luzon, the MRP will transform the socio-economic landscape of Mindanao,” Secretary Villar said.

For his part, Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects, Secretary Vince Dizon, emphasized the President’s vision of spurring economic growth throughout the country through infrastructure development.

“The BBB Program has one clear aspiration, that is, to spread development not just in major urban centers but throughout the country. The Mindanao Railway Project as a major transport infrastructure development is part of the realization of this goal,” Secretary Dizon stated.

Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway Project is designed to accommodate around 130,000 passengers per day in its first year of full operations. Once fully operational, travel time between Tagum City to Digos City will be reduced from currently 3.5 hours to just 1.3 hours.

Partial operations are targeted by the second quarter of 2022 for the Tagum-Davao line, while full operations for the Tagum-Davao-Digos line will be in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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