Davao City’s aim of becoming one of the country’s hubs of progress has spurred the ambitious 34.9-kilometer intra-city urban rail system project that costs P30 billion.
The 14-kilometer long monorail, dubbed the Davao People Mover, will run from MacArthur Highway to J.P. Laurel Avenue passing through the city’s Central Business District with 16 stations while a six-kilometer Line 2 that will link the first system to Buhangin all the way to the Davao International Airport is under study.
The project, which is part of the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build program, seeks a reliable public transport to cover Davao City and is identified as one of the high-priority projects in the 27-year Infrastructure Modernization for Davao City or (IM4Davao) to address vehicular traffic congestion in the city.
Udenna was granted the OPS because it was the only one that complied with the documentary requirements.
The project is also expected to play a key role in attaining the objectives outlined in the United Nations’ (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) worldwide to allow inclusive growth among member nations.
The UN-SDG — of which the Daily Tribune is a media partner — targets sustainable and resilient technological advancement in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and infrastructure support.
The SDG, otherwise known as Global Goals, is a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These 17 Goals build on the successes of the millennium development goals while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption and peace and justice.
Recent reports had it the Udenna Corporation of Davao tycoon Dennis Uy had gained the upper hand to undertake the monorail project after it was granted an Original Proponent Status (OPS), which is advantageous to the project that has a Swiss challenge, because it will have the headway of having “the right to match the best offer that might come out during the bidding.”
The Davao City-based tycoon also bagged government’s approval as the country’s third major telecommunications player through the Mislatel consortium that included China Telecom. The telco project also squarely falls within the UN-SDG initiative.
Udenna was granted the OPS because it was the only one that complied with the documentary requirements when it forwarded its proposal to undertake the project, according to Davao City Planning and Development Office head Ivan Cortez.
Cortez said any rail system in the country is considered a “national project” and, as such, the city government will not be able to provide Udenna any counterpart financial support because it is an unsolicited project.
“Just like other rail systems from the other parts of the world, there really is a need for government to also chip in in terms of operation or in terms of capex (capital expenditure) simply because as of now all operations of the railway system in the world is subsidized largely by the government,” Cortez said.
Infra empowers people
Investments in infrastructure, especially on transport, are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries because, without it, industrialization and development will not happen.
As such, the UN-SDG is keen on developing a quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
Once completed, the Davao monorail can achieve the needed domestic technology development.