|DAVAO CITY – The Davao Integrated Development Program (DIDP), Mindanao Business Council (MinBC), MCC Capital Inc., a UK-based financial institution, and local government units in the Davao Region have signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on the proposed Davao Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the construction of a bridge in Samal.
Merly Cruz, assistant secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), reported that the projects were the results of the BIMP-EAGA investment conference held in this city last October.
“After follow through meetings and creation of a task force by the economic development committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC), we needed partners to provide us the resources. And so, this MoA signing formalizes the beginning of these projects,” she said.
Furthermore, Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, chair of DIDP, said that the provisions of the MoA, which is an overall agreement to initiate projects, include funding by MCC Capital.
In a report prepared by Wendel Avisado, executive director of the DIDP, it was stated that “the LRT system will serve the coastal builtup area of Davao City, as well as neighboring areas in Davao del Sur (Sta. Cruz), and Davao del Norte (Panabo City).”
He said that the project cost was R240 billion in 1997 when it was first proposed. “It is also proposed to be 60 kilometers in length and a BOT (build, operate, transfer) project,” Avisado said.
In a statement, Nicasio Angelo J. Agustin, vice chairman of the Davao regional office of the Regional Development Council (RDC 11), said that “the railway system will be initially established traversing the Tagum City-Carmen-Panabo City-Davao City-Sta. Cruz-Digos City highway. These areas comprise the “linear urban corridor” that serves as the hub of economic activities and social integration in the Davao Region. The cities in the ‘linear urban corridor’ are also among the major ‘growth centers,’ intended to strengthen and enhance existing economic zones and market exchange centers,” he said.
Meanwhile, it was reported the Samal bridge costs R6.48 billion. It is proposed to be 1,200 meters in length with two lanes and to have a vertical clearance of 22 meters.
Agustin said that the Samal bridge is “critical to spur development in the Island Garden City of Samal, and will serve as the link to the other growth centers in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental through the proposed roll-on/roll-off port facilities.”
On the proposed Davao Railway System, the China Railway Signalling and Communications Corp. (CRSC) has been tapped to construct the system.
It is an AAA credit grade enterprise specializing in railway construction, which corners over 70 percent of the market in nationwide railway system in China with over 50 years of railway construction system. The president of CRSC expressed confidence on the said projects.
“We will do our best to support the project and hope that the meeting can approve friendship between China and the Philippines,” he said.
MCC Capital Inc., through Mohammad Faisal Kasim, CEO, and John Tapp, director and company secretary, is optimistic about the projects. “We believe that MCC Capital can undertake the projects successfully because of the positive factors of growth in the Philippines when it comes to investments and business,” Kasim said. Nevertheless, Kasim added that less bureaucracy is important in doing good business here.
Vicente Lao, chairman of the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC), is also enthusiastic about the development in the projects.