Marcos seeks new funding for Mindanao railway

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Marcos seeks new funding for Mindanao railway
Image by Tom from Pixabay
  • President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered exploring new funding sources for the Mindanao railway project
  • He directed the secretaries of the Transportation and Finance departments to collaborate on sourcing funds for the 103-kilometer railway
  • Last October, the government announced it would seek alternative official development assistance partners after negotiations with China failed
  • The President also launched the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project during the DOTr’s anniversary, focusing on a 672-kilometer bus route network

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. urged exploring new funding sources for the Mindanao railway project to be handled by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Finance.

Speaking at the 125th anniversary of the DOTr in Davao City, Marcos emphasized the need for innovative financing models, directing the secretaries of the Transportation and Finance departments to collaborate on sourcing funds for the 103-kilometer railway.

The government had previously decided against relying on Chinese loans for financing.

READ: PH seeks alternative funding for transport projects as Chinese interest wanes

“Thus far, 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,” he said.

The President highlighted the potential for hybrid financing, with different project components underwritten by various stakeholders. He suggested tendering civil works to private investors while considering official development assistance for rolling stocks, or vice versa.

“There are some examples of ways we can explore different modes of financing to accelerate delivery. Of course, (the) right-of-way is a deliverable entrusted to the government,” the President said as he urged the government to be in the “driver’s seat” behind such innovations.

The P83-billion Tagum-Davao-Digos segment of the Mindanao Railway Project, intended to link major cities and economic zones, faces funding challenges. Last October, the government announced it would seek alternative official development assistance partners after unsuccessful negotiations with China, according to the DOTr.

The project was initially planned to be in full operation by 2021, aimed to support economic activities in the region.

The President also launched the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project during the DOTr’s anniversary, focusing on a 672-kilometer bus route network.

The project includes 400 electric buses and over 500 diesel buses, serving 29 interconnected routes.

Expected to serve 800,000 passengers daily and create around 3,000 jobs, the project aims to provide high-quality public transportation and reduce dependence on private vehicles in the southern city.

Civil works for the project are projected to start in the third quarter.

Marcos commended the Asian Development Bank’s investment in the modernization project, noting that the support will ensure quality work without compromising the budget or deadlines.

He further directed the DOTr to expedite the modernization of the country’s airports, railways, seaports, roads, transportation hubs, and active mobility structures.

READ: Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1 moving forward