Three Asian countries and at least four Philippine conglomerates are keen to invest in the proposed 2,000 –kilometer (km) Mindanao railway system that will connect the entire island, The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Thursday.

In a press briefing, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said that among the three countries, namely, Japan, South Korea and China, the latter was very eager to fund the project. On the other hand, the Japanese government proposes to finance the initiative through the official development assistance (ODA).

NEDA Deputy Director-General Rolando Tungpalan said that the proposal already goes under a feasible study to determine the best way to facilitate the project. Meanwhile, Pernia, who is also the Director-General of NEDA, supplemented that the railway project may be funded through various ways including the ODA and public-private partnership (PPP), The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Earlier, it can be recalled that at least four local groups have already shown interest in investing in the project including San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPI), Megawide Construction Corp. (MEG) and Ayala Corp. (AC).

The proposed railway transport service in Mindanao is projected to pass through the cities of Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos, Iligan, Surigao and Zamboanga. Once finished, the railway is estimated to stretch by 2,000 kilometers (km) and will be broken into several phases.

The Mindanao railway system is envisioned to improve the region’s inter-island accessibility and upgrade multimodal transport.  It goes in line with President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration’s resolution to spread infrastructure development throughout the country. It will also help improve tourism infrastructures such as sea ports in the southern island.

The railway system is slated to be constructed in 2017. It is targeted for completion by 2022. The total  cost of the project has yet to be finalized.

What do you think of China, Japan and South Korea investing in the Mindanao railway system project? Let us know in the comments section below.