The Mindanao Railway’s first inter-city railway connection will connect Panabo City with Carmen, Davao del Norte. Eymard Eje, Assistant Secretary for Project Implementation - Mindanao Cluster, made this announcement at a virtual press conference on February 24, 2021.

At time index 1:19:28 of the recording above, ASec Eje related that completion of the Panabo-Carmen leg of Phase 1 of the railway would constitute the minimum requirement for “partial availability” of the MRS. He explained that this phase was chosen for its favorable terrain. Unlike the Davao segment, which required the construction of bridges and viaducts to traverse the city, the alignment between Panabo and Carmen was flat.

The red line in the graphic below shows the alignment between the Carmen and Panabo stations. Note how this 5.7 kilometer track will be parallel to the Pan-Philippine highway.

The same press briefing also showed the progress made with the delivery of Notices of Taking and the conduct of property appraisals in the different cities. The state of these activities also provided insights into why the Panabo-Carmen segment made for a good starting point for the railway.

Panabo is clearly ahead of all other cities in terms of completion of delivery of Notices of Taking and the completion of appraisals. It is not clear if there was a conscious decision on the part of Mindanao Railway Project Office (MRPO) to focus its notice delivery and appraisal activities on Panabo -- because it had planned to start construction in Panabo all along -- or if this was simply a reflection of LGU support on the part of the City of Panabo.

ASec Eje didn't provide data about the progress of Notices of Taking for Carmen. Presumably, this was simply an oversight. However, if we extrapolate the progress of NOTs and appraisal for Panabo, and apply this to Carmen -- the implications look very favorable for this municipality.

Therefore, Panabo and Carmen not only represented low-hanging fruit for completion of any segment of Phase 1, these cities were also further along in the right-of-way acquisition process than all other cities covered by Phase 1.

For more information about the stations in these cities, see the following related discussions:

Panabo station Carmen station