Davao City to Construct Subsidized Mass Transport System for All

As Davao City population and economy grows, the city government anticipates a growing demand for public transportation. In partnership with a Korean firm, the city will construct its own mass transport system similar to Manila’s Light Railway Transit (LRT) and Mass Railway Transit (MRT).

But unlike typical projects funded by bidding contractors, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said that the local government will subsidize a large portion of commuter fare, according to information from the Mayor’s official website.

“Government must really shoulder part of the transport cost of ordinary wage earners and office workers to ensure equitable and inclusive human development in the city,” the mayor said.

Duterte witnessed how commuters in Metro Manila endured long lines before they could take a ride in the MRT.

“Those who could not bear the long wait were walking along the road and every time a jeepney stopped to pick up passengers, there was a mad scramble among the poor commuters,” Duterte said recalling what he saw.

“Kawawa talaga. Pati babae at bata natutumba sa pag-aagawan para makasakay lang.”

While the structure of the proposed railway will be similar to those of MRT and LRT, one distinction of this project is that it considers the majority of its passengers may not be able to afford the travel costs. The city plans to subsidize costs so many ordinary citizens can still avail of the tranport mode.

A company based in South Korea has initiated a feasibility study of the project. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was signed by the Mayor, in behalf of the city, with Korea Engineering and Construction (KEC) for the feasibility study on the railway project at no cost to the local government.

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PHOTO 01: MOA SIGNING – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (sitting, right) led the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) held at the Marco Polo Hotel on Monday, June 16 with the Korea Engineering and Construction headed by Professor Chae Il Kwon, (sitting, 2nd from left), Chief Researcher, Transportation Study Group of the Seoul National University for the commencement of a feasibility study for the construction of the Davao Light Rail Transit Project. Witnessing the signing are (standing L-R) councilors Danny Dayanghirang and Edgar Ibuyan. (Alexander D. Lopez)

Dae Kwon Jung, KEC overseas manager said the 13.6 kilometer LRT system will commence from Roxas Avenue at Ateneo de Davao University and end at Davao International Airport in Buhangin, passing through Abreeza Mall in Bajada, SM Mall in Lanng and Mamay Road.

The proposed monorail-type LRT will accommodate between 5,000 and 20,000 passengers an hour at speed of 70 kilometers an hour, according to KEC.

The Davao City mayor said offering a subsidized mass transport system will greatly contribute to the productivity of the ordinary workers which in turn will hasten an inclusive national growth.

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