Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino. (PNA-Cebu file photo)

CEBU CITY -- The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) on Wednesday said the proposed Cebu monorail project will start to undergo evaluation by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC).

Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino, head of OPAV, said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has submitted the proposal to NEDA-ICC.

"The documents pertaining to the monorail project have been submitted to NEDA after DOTr completed them," he said in a statement.

Dino said that he met with NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Saturday (Jan. 25) in Manila to discuss the project.

The NEDA-ICC Technical Board has set the review of the project on the second or third week of February, he added.

"Secretary Pernia who also happens to have a Cebuano blood, wants to fast-track Cebu's monorail project, seeing it as an urgent need for (the) Cebuanos," Dino said.

Like every after review of government projects that need NEDA's approval, the monorail system in Cebu will be submitted to the agency's ICC's Cabinet Committee.

Dino said the monorail project will become part of Cebu's Integrated Intermodal Transport System (IITS) which includes a bus rapid transit, point-to-point buses, cable car system, modern jeepneys, bikeways, and urban realm enhancement or walkways, among others.

The proposed monorail will have the capacity of a light rail transit (LRT) and can accommodate 12,000 to 15,000 passengers per hour per direction.

Davao-based Udenna Infrastructure Corporation and its foreign partner were granted original proponent status (OPS) for its proposed Cebu Rail Project in May 2019.

Under the company’s unsolicited proposal submitted to the DOTr last year, it dropped the LRT system and instead offered to build a monorail system.

With the OPS, the national government gives the company the right to match any competing offer through a Swiss challenge, a procurement process inviting other entities to bid for the project as mandated under the Build-Operate-Transfer Law.

The cost of the monorail project is pegged at PHP78.9 billion. (PNA)