Mindanao railway may get foreign funding


China, Japan, SKorea offer support
Three Asian countries—China, Japan and South Korea—have offered to provide funding for the construction of the Mindanao railway system, which is expected to start this year.

Rolando Tungpalan, the deputy director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said in Davao city on Thursday: “There are offers from governments of Japan, China, and South Korea.”

He was speaking on the sidelines of the press briefing about the performance of the Philippine economy in the second quarter of the year.

The 2,000-kilometer railway system is one of the priority infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration. Construction is targeted to begin this year, building by segment starting in Davao and going up to the northeastern part of Mindanao, it will connect key cities such as Davao, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, Cagaan de Oro, Iligan, and General Santos.

The feasibility study has mentioned who will finance the project. “It is part of the study to determine the best way to structure the project for the expediency so we do not want to preempt,” said Tungpalan. But he added, “we are aware of the current offers. Japan is ready, China is ready, of course South Korea.”

Asked on what could be the possible mode of funding for the project, Tungpalan said that the feasibility study would have to determine if it would be under an official development assistance or public-private partnership (PPP).

Earlier reports said big private firms such as San Miguel Corp., Malaysia’s MTD Group and the MVP group are also taking a closer look at the project.


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