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Economy

Davao City eyes metro rail by 2015

October 30, 2008 5:20pm

Tags: Davao City
MANILA, Philippines - Davao City, one of the world's largest cities in terms of land area, wants its own metropolitan rail system by 2015 to address the area's growing number of commuters as its economy expands.

Upon the request of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R Duterte, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Leandro R Mendoza has endorsed the project to the Japanese government for assistance on the rail's feasibility study.

An initial study for the Davao Metro Rail Transit was already conducted by Petra Konsult & Associates, Inc. but Mendoza said a feasibility study should be done "to ascertain the project's viability." He asked for the new study to be fully financed by Japan's Special Assistance for Project Formation.

Under Petra Konsult's study submitted to the DOTC, Davao MRT will require an $844.50-million investment before it becomes operational by 2015.

The rail system with 26 stations from the towns of Toril to Lasang.

On its website, 2,443.61-square kilometer Davao City prides itself as the "de facto capital of Mindanao" due to its strategic location which has access to the islands 20 million population. The city itself has a population of 1.4 million.

It also serves as the southern Philippines' gateway to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Australia.

"To cope with the increased population growth, vibrant economic activity, and other urban development pressures... appropriate mass transit system has to be put in place in the future," said excerpts of Mendoza's letter to Japan Ambassador Makoto Katsura.

DOTC Undersecretary Guiling A Mamondiong said the Davao City MRT will eventually be part of the department's 2,000-kilometer six-phase railway project which would link the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Surigao and General Santos, and Agusan province.

Plans for a rail system in Mindanao were first brought up with former President Fidel V Ramos visited Davao City in 1992. Since then, investors from Germany, Austria, India, France and even Thailand have expressed interest in the railway plans for the Southern Philippine island. - Anna Barbara L. Lorenzo, GMANews.TV

Tags: Davao City