Finally, after more than two decades since it was proposed in the 1990’s, there have been high hopes for the long-delayed Mindanao Railway System (MRS) project.

The National Economic Development Agency (NEDA) that is said to have started their feasibility study for the Mindanao Rail Transit System last year, confirmed that there are eight firms who have shown interest in conducting the feasibility study for the MRS.

According to reports, two foreign firms that came from Japan and Indonesia expressed their interest in funding the P78 billion MRS project after the feasibility study was completed.

The firms’ name were withheld but it is believed that the Indonesian firm is the Salim Group of Indonesian billionaire Anthony Salim which already have stakes in businesses here in the Philippines including telecommunications. power, water, transportation, expressways and hospitals.

The said railway will strategically connect major cities in Mindanao. According to NEDA once the proposed project was implemented it “will play a major role towards improvement of Mindanao’s Intra island accessibility, linkages and seamless Multimodal transport networks.” with the hopes of boosting the regions’ economy.

As shown on the proposal below, the whole project cost P78 billion covering approximately 2,000 kilometers of railways which will be done in (6) phases.

Presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, is now reviving the MRS project along with Senator Alan Peter Cayetano who’s running for vice president, Cayetano said that if the national government could fund the construction of the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3), which costs P50-billion worth of taxpayer’s money, it could also do the same for “Mindanao’s long cherished dream of a railway system.”

The MRS is now subjected for NEDA’s approval. Meanwhile officials from Mindanao Development Authority (MDA) noted that the next President will play a big role in pushing the project, “It’s for the next President to decide and make it happen”.

Do you think MRS would be feasible and beneficial to the Mindanao’ans? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section. -John Esconde