Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is in South Korea to meet with investors of the proposed construction of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Davao City.
Apparently hot on the multi-billion peso project, Duterte went on a trip to Korea even as a feasibility study is already ongoing on the multi-billion peso mass transport project seen as a cure to the city’s growing vehicular traffic woes.
The mayor earlier said an LRT is a dream project he wanted to build as he grappled in finding solutions to the city’s traffic jams.
Duterte left for South Korea on a self-financed, unofficial trip on October 27 to pursue talks with the investors and officials of the Korean Engineering Company (KEC).
The big-ticket mass transport system, the second in the country after the National Capital Region, may be built under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme funded by international lending agencies like the Asian Development Bank.
There is an ongoing feasibility study in Davao City to last up to March next year commissioned by KEC on the proposed LRT initially planned to traverse a 50-km route from Dumoy in Toril in the south to the Davao International Airport in the north.
KEC proposed the project over projections of acute need for mass transport system in the next decade. The city has a current population of 1.5 million; figures gathered by KEC in an earlier data-gathering mission showed about 50 million people commuted in year 2011. The city’s urban transport system consists of Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs), taxis and the illegally-operating motorcycle-for-hire. These public transport modes will become more unreliable in future with the city’s fast-paced economic development and ballooning population, according to the KEC in an earlier project presentation before city officials.