The long-delayed Mindanao Railway System, a 200-kilometer infrastructure which would connect major food producing areas of the island to the ports, will be implemented under the Presidency of Rody Duterte, vice presidential contender Alan Peter Cayetano told Northern Mindanao businessmen Sunday.
Cayetano, who was in Cagayan de Oro to meet with business and religious leaders in a series of town hall activities, said the P78-billion project is a vital component of Duterteâ€™s â€œAvailable and Affordable Foodâ€ commitment to the Filipino people.
He said that while Mindanao has the potential of feeding the over 100 million Filipinos, the problem in transporting products to the market has affected the islandâ€™s productivity.
The Mindanao Railway System, when constructed, will link Zamboanga City in the western part of the island to other major cities like Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog, Surigao, Butuan Davao, Cotabato and General Santos traversing key agricultural areas in the central part of the island.
â€œRight now, only huge trucks are used in bringing products to the ports and this is very expensive. This results in higher cost of food products,â€ he told Cagayan de Oro businessmen.
The Mindanao Railway System has already been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the governmentâ€™s development projects clearing house, but no funds have been allocated.
In contrast, Cayetano said that the national government has already spent over P300-B for Metro Manilaâ€™s Metro Rail Transit.
He said the first phase of the Mindanao Railway System project will connect Iligan City to Gingoog City while the last phase will connect Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao to Malungon/General Santos City in the South.
Cayetano said the railway system will spur development in Mindanao, create new townships which will decongest the big cities, increase agricultural productivity and ensure sufficient supply of affordable food for the people.
He also said that he will take up with his presidential running mate his proposal to rehabilitate and reactivate the railway systems from the Cagayan Valley Region and from the Bicol Region to Metro Manila.
â€œThese are very important infrastructure projects which will have huge impact on food supply, rural development and jobs generation,â€ Cayetano said.