Early problems for the Mindanao Railway
The Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) has got a lot of Mindanawons excited especially since it is envisioned to connect most cities and municipalities in the future.
For the first phase of the project, it will be a 105-kilometer (km) Tagum-Davao-Digos (MRP-TDD) segment. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said “this is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum City, Davao del Norte to Digos City, Davao del Sur from 3.5 hours to 1.3 hours once it starts operating in 2022.”
The first phase will have eight stations -- Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos.
“The Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives has recently earmarked an initial amount of P6.58 billion to jumpstart the project. The amount will primarily fund the first segment, which will run from Tagum City to Davao City to Digos City. The appropriation comes more than a month after the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) approved Phase 1 of MRP, which will cost P35.257 billion via general appropriations,” DOTr said.
The 105 km Phase 1 of the MRP is part of the 1,530-km rail line that will connect Davao, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Zamboanga City. With better land connectivity we can be assured that there will be a faster movement of people, goods, and services throughout the island.
However, while the construction has not begun, there are already some complaints and problems that the contractors and the government is facing.
Davao City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said he has received complaints from homeowners and business owners in Cabantian that will be affected by the project.
“We are disturbed by a number of reports from local homeowners and business owners in the areas of alignment of the MRP,” Dayanghirang said.
He said the contractor of the project is reportedly pressuring barangay and homeowners to sign a certificate of no objection so the project can proceed.
Dayanghirang pointed out that there was no proper consultation or alignment of plans with the city.
“The problem sometimes, the other departments do not consult us,” he said, underscoring that the City Council should be consulted because it is their job to secure the welfare of its citizens.
Dayanghirang said they are appealing to re-adjust the path of the train.
A major infrastructure project experiencing problems as early as now is already worrisome. It also raises a number of questions like if there was proper planning between the local government units and the national government? Did they take into consideration those who will be affected by the construction?
Somehow this shows a problem within the government -- regardless of whose administration it is -- as to how it can be uncoordinated in some aspects. If there was truly proper coordination on the railway project between the proponent and the local government unit, then there would be no problems like this that will arise.
The government should act quickly in resolving the problem to ensure that the project will go as planned. The government could also set another coordination effort with affected local government units to ensure that no problem like this will arise in the future.
Lastly, the government should be transparent as what is happening on the ground for the public to be fully aware of what is really happening.
To those who are affected by the project, forced to sign documents without their consent, or see anything anomalous speak up and report it.