With no contractors from China, Mindanao Railway Project hits the brakes
MANILA, Philippines — A month before the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte ends, the Mindanao Railway Project has yet to start construction as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) remains waiting for China to submit its shortlist of design-build contractors.
“Since we have not received the shortlist of design-build contractors yet from the China side, we are unable to proceed with the construction as originally scheduled,” DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said on Wednesday. “Right now, there’s [an] ongoing review and request by the Philippines’ side to China’s side for this shortlist of contractors and we are hoping that this list is provided soon.”
As the transition into the next administration begins, Batan vowed that the department will recommend the continuous pursuit of the Mindanao Railway Project.
“One of the policy areas that we would like to refer to the incoming administration would be the way forward for this,” he noted.
Presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has previously shared his plan to endeavor for a better railway system, especially in Mindanao, to spur economic development in the Philippines.
READ: Marcos Jr. backs Mindanao railway project
Aside from the currently unavailable shortlist of contractors, Batan shared that they are also experiencing difficulty in acquiring some properties covering the 102-kilometer stretch of the project’s first phase.
“We offered fair market value to the property owners and some of those property owners have already agreed to sell their properties to us. Now, there are some who would not agree to the fair market value appraisal that was offered. In which case, we go to expropriation also under [the] procedures under our local laws,” he said.
The first phase of construction for the Mindanao Railway, initially expected to start in the third quarter of 2018, is aimed to link the cities of Tagum in Davao del Norte, Davao, and Digos cities in Davao del Sur.
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