PRE-CONSTRUCTION activities are underway for the first segment of the Mindanao Railway System (MRS), with target completion by the end of this year so that building work could start by Jan. 2019. “The ground investigation (GI) involves drilling of boreholes along the planned railway corridor from Tagum City to Digos City is ongoing,” said Davao City Councilor Jesus Joseph P. Zozobrado III, chairperson of the committee on public works and vice-chair of the committee on transportation. Phase 1 of the MRS is a 102-kilometer railway spanning the cities of Davao, Tagum in Davao del Norte, and Digos in Davao del Sur. Mr. Zozobrado said the three cities already have a Technical Working Group each that will address the right-of-way concerns for project, which will have eight stations. “There are no talks with the property owners yet but soon there will be a series of consultations,” he said. Officials of the cities met with Department of Transportation representatives two weeks ago to discuss the coordination process. MRS Project Manager Patricia Melizza B. Ruivivar earlier urged city officials to take the lead in the ROW aspect. “We need the support of the local government units because they will play a big role in the implementation of a project as big as the Mindanao Railway,” Ms. Ruivivar said. — Carmencita A. Carillo