“We are not committing this to any ODA.”

It can be recalled that several projects are to be funded by the Chinese in Davao City as representatives from China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) have expressed interest to implement various projects in Davao City in a meeting with the Davao City Investment Promotion Center (DCIPC). This includes Mindanao railway project.

Highest-ranking Chinese officials visited the Philippines last March stating that China was ready to help President Duterte realize his dream of building a railway to connect key Mindanao areas with one another.

But the tables had turn for Mindanao railway project based on the recent reports.

The Department of Transportation this week submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority the feasibility study for the 100-kilometer “high priority” first phase of the railway that will run through Tagum, Davao and Digos Cities in the Davao regions, NEDA Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said in an interview last Friday, as included in an Inquirer report last May 22.

Tungpalan said the Mindanao Railway project would be funded under the national budget to fast-track rollout. “We are not committing this to any ODA.”

READ ALSO: Chinese Proposal: The New Mindanao Railway System Plan

According to PhilStar, ODA or Official Development Assistance is defined as official financing assistance from the group of developed countries … Many other countries also lend ODA to the Philippines.

“We will have a special ICC [meeting] on account of high priority [of the Mindanao Railway project]… We might call for a joint [NEDA ICC] technical board-Cabinet [committee meeting] by early June,” Tungpalan added.

But it seems that the Chinese railway plan didn’t change. It can be recalled that the new proposal from the Chinese made major changes to the original plan. As shown in the photo below taken from PTV Facebook page, the railway will no longer traverse along some important cities such as Zamboanga and General Santos. It will cost 218 billion, and it will no longer make trips across Bukidnon province.

Mindanao Railway project railmap
The new proposal presented by the Chinese made several changes to the original plan. The heart-shaped rail track will traverse along cities of Davao, Digos, Marawi, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog, Butuan, and Tagum. Photo taken from PTV Facebook page.

The first phase will construct a railway along Tagum City, Davao del Sur, and Digos City. The Duterte administration had planned to fast-track the rollout of the P120-billion Mindanao Railway Davao phase connecting major cities in Davao region.

READ ALSO: Duterte set to approve Mindanao railway Davao phase this week

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