The implementation of the 2,000-kilometer Mindanao Railway project, which costs about US$9 billion, will start next year, said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday, April 19.
In a press conference in Zamboanga City, Alvarez told the press that the Congress is working for the provision of the funding in the General Appropriation Act to be used for the acquisition of the properties for the project.
The Speaker said the first phase of infrastructure implementation will start next year.
The first phase will run from Davao del Sur to Davao del Norte, the second phase will be from Davao del Norte to Butuan City, the third phase from Butuan to Cagayan de Oro, and the fourth phase from Cagayan de Oro to Iligan and Zamboanga peninsula.
According to Alvarez, the loop from Cagayan de Oro passing Cotabato to Davao will complete the rail system in Mindanao.
Late last month, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) reported that the feasibility study of the Mindanao Railway Project has been completed and will be presented to the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) by the third quarter this year.
According to NEDA, Malaysia, Japan and China are interested to build the railway system.
Mindanao railway system, an iconic project for Mindanao that will connect major cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, General Santos and Davao, is one of the four major railway systems which President Rodrigo Duterte promised to build.
The other three lines are Manila-Nueva Vizcaya, Manila-Sorsogon and Manila-Batangas.