Marcos forms new body to fix right-of-way delays in railway projects
To hasten land acquisition, ensure top-level cooperation

New body formed to fix right-of-way delays in rail projects

/ 05:30 AM April 03, 2024

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Philippine National Railways INQUIRER/RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — Noting how right-of-way (ROW) issues delay the completion of new railway systems, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has created an inter-agency committee to streamline the process of acquiring land needed to implement such major transport projects.

Signed by the President on March 25, Administrative Order NO. 19 forms the Inter-Agency Committee for Right of Way Activities for National Railway Projects.


In the directive, the President stressed the need for the committee to “accelerate the implementation of railway projects and ensure high-level cooperation and support from concerned government agencies to streamline the process of land acquisition and delivery of services to project-affected persons.”


READ: PNR envisions modern, complete train terminals for commuters

“Issues concerning land acquisition, as well as resettlement activities for project-affected persons, adversely affect the timelines for the implementation of railway projects,” he said.

Chaired by transport chief

The committee is tasked to “study and devise an efficient and collaborative mechanism to streamline the process of land acquisition necessary for the implementation of all railway projects.”

It will be headed by the transportation secretary as chairperson and the human settlements secretary as cochairperson. Members will include the secretaries of the interior, social welfare, environment, finance, budget, justice and the solicitor general.

The Philippine National Railways (PNR) will serve as the committee secretariat and provide administrative and technical support.

Under Republic Act No. 10752 or the 2016 Right-of-Way Act, the government is authorized to acquire real property needed as ROW site or location for any national government infrastructure project through donation, negotiated sale, expropriation, or any other mode of acquisition as provided by law.


READ: 5-year closure of PNR line to start March 28

Mindanao snag

At present, the Marcos administration’s priority railway projects include the Metro Manila Subway Project, North-South Commuter Railway System, Mindanao Railway Project, and PNR South Long Haul Project.

In 2023, the Department of Transportation said the government was fast-tracking priority railway projects and improving current operating lines such as the PNR, Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit.

In the case of the 100.2 km-Mindanao Railway Project that would run from Tagum City to Digos City, its implementation hit a snag last year after the government decided to look for other viable sources of funding, like official development assistance (ODA) and loans from international financial institutions.

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This was after the government decided to withdraw its request for China’s ODA for the first phase of the project’s construction. INQ

TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos Jr., PNR, right of way

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