DOTr seeks LGU assistance on road acquisition for P90B Mindanao railway project

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DAVAO CITY (August 1)– The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has asked the local government units (LGU) to help in the implementation of the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP).

DOTr- MRP deputy project manager Patricia Ruvivar, on Tuesday said that the acquisition of the road right of way is for the P90 billion  102-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos railway system in Mindanao.

“Kasi si President Rodrigo Duterte ay taga Mindanao, taga Davao at galing siyang LGU so, nakikita niya na malaki ang papel na gagamapanan sa pag-implement ng proyektong ito (This because President Rodrigo Duterte is from Mindanao, Davao City and he is also a former LGU leader so, he sees that the local officials have the big role in implementing big project like this),” she said.

Ruvivar said the LGU will be the one to lead in the negotiations particularly on the affected landowners where the railway will be established.

“Mas kilala nila ang may-ari ng mga lupang dadaanan ng train so, mas alam nila paano ma-prevent ang overprice, ma-prevent ang corruption na mangayri kasi mas transparent yung proseso kung LGU ang lead (Since they know the owners of the land where the trains pass and they know how to prevent overpricing and corruption to happen and it is more transparent if the LGU will lead for this),” she added.

Ruvivar said the train stations will be established in  Tagum City, Municipality of Carmen, Panabo City, Davao del Norte which will be connected to Barangay Mudiang in Bunawan District, Barangay Magtuod in Talomo District and Toril District in Davao City while in Davao del Sur it will be in Sta. Cruz and Digos City.

The project is still under evaluation of the National Economic Development Council (NEDA).  Among the recommendations from the Regional Development Council- XI are on the shift in the feasibility study. particularly its alignment from the existing schools, development, memorial parks, mangroves and others, requiring  viaducts required in certain locations due to the terrain, tunnel option subject to further study, change in scope of work from single to dual track, and from non-electrified to electrified.

Ruvivar said there are also changes in funding strategy from Philippine General Appropriation Act to China Official Development Assistance (ODA0) funding for the entire MRP.

The bidding will start on November this year and the awarding of winning bidder on December so that the construction can start by January 2019 and will operational by year 2021.

Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag said that the city is willing to support the project by convincing the property owners to cooperate with the government. “The city government welcomes this development and we are happy that there is a Mindanao Railway Project and there are three stations here in Davao City,” he pointed out.

Al-ag said he is appealing to the property owners lend part of their lands to the government and they will be paid based on its market value.  “If you look at the government projects, there are delays because of non-cooperation of the property owners. If you look on aspect that the government wants to procure properties just to finish the but the land owners are not cooperative, “he added.

Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) undersecretary Romeo Montenegro said his agency will also help monitor the acquisition of road right of way of this project.  “We want this to be a showcase that Mindanao is ready to implement major infrastructure projects such as railway,” he added.

The project also indicate the Duterte administration’s commitment to accelerate development in Mindanao.  “Connectivity is an important element to achieve progress. If you have connectivity, you have available needs to transport people and products faster and economic activities will be also fast,” he said.

Montenegro said a lot of investments will pour in the area which will be followed by more job opportunities for the people.  (Armando B. Fenequito Jr./NewsLine)

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