By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE Transportation department is expecting to award the project management consultancy services contract of the Mindanao Railway Project (Tagum-Davao-Digos segment) this month, an official said on Wednesday.

Ito pong buwan na ito, tayo po ay umaasa na mai-award na po natin ‘yung kontrata doon po sa ating project management consultant (We are hoping to award the contract to the project management consultant this month),” Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John R. Batan said at a virtual press briefing.

The Department of Transportation announced in December last year its invitation to shortlisted Chinese consultants to submit bids for the project management consultancy services contract.

The China-funded project has an approved budget of P3.09 billion for the consultancy services.

The department requires the completion of the detailed design and works within 17 months, with 33 months set as the period for the contractor to be engaged in pre-construction activities and the defects notification period.

The railway project, one of the Duterte administration’s priority infrastructure projects, was originally scheduled to start construction in January 2019 but right-of-way issues, mainly in Davao City, held back the timetable.

The railway’s P82.9-billion first phase, covering the 100.2-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos segment, is financed through an official development assistance package from the Chinese government.