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Mindanao railway seen spreading development outside Metro Manila

Posted on June 03, 2015 07:58:00 PM

By Mark D. Francisco, Correspondent

Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce President Cerael C. Donggay said new mass transport systems, in whatever form it may take, will make logistics more efficient and lower business costs.

“Mass transport is more efficient, meaning more cargo in tons per liter of fuel burned compared with trucks. That will result in cheaper cargo and lower cost of products,” Mr. Donggay told BusinessWorld.

“This will contribute to more economic activity,” he added.

Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, who was in the city last week, has committed to file a bill that will help push the MRS proposal.

“It is high time to decongest Metro Manila,” she said.

According to an official with the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, legislators have also been lobbying for the MRS to be included in the list of projects under the government’s main infrastructure development program.

The first segment of the MRS that could be placed under the PPP covers the Northern Mindanao Region — running from Laguindingan where a new international airport is located, to Cagayan de Oro City; Laguindingan to Iligan City, another major urban center; Cagayan de Oro to the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation Industrial Authority district of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental; and from Iligan City to Linamon, Lanao del Norte.

Under the Mindanao Development Authority’s (MinDA) Mindanao Development Corridors program, Northern Mindanao is positioned to become the industrial and services center of the southern Philippines.

Earlier this week, MinDA Executive Director Janet M. Lopoz said in an interview in Davao City that the agency is also planning to revive the MRS as conceptualized under the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos, which is composed of six segments that will link the major cities in Mindanao.

The Mindanao railway system was first proposed in a bill filed by then Misamis Oriental Rep. Augusto Baculio in the 1990s. Later on, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo created the Mindanao Railways Office under the Department of Transportation and Communications, which was abolished by the current government.

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