Relocation of informal settlers for NSCR project starts

PNR chair: Relocation of informal settlers for NSCR project starts

/ 03:21 PM April 03, 2024

PHOTO: Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and Philippine National Railways chair Michael Macapagal. STORY: PNR chair: Relocation of informal settlers for NSCR project starts

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and Philippine National Railways Chair Michael Macapagal. File photo from the PNR)

MANILA, Philippines — There may be no more homes along the “riles” (rails) soon, at least for the routes along the government’s big-ticket North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project.

In a press conference in Manila on Wednesday, Philippine National Railways (PNR) chair Michael Macapagal said that the relocation of informal settlers who have built their homes along the route of the NSCR in Metro Manila will begin this April.


READ: PNR: Laguna to Pampanga North-South Commuter Railway done in 2028  


“In Metro Manila, we are starting the (…) relocation and fencing by this month. So, in the course of doing that, we will encounter right of way issues and we will then address it on a case-to-case basis,” Macapagal said in a mix of Filipino and English.

“(It) should be this April, moving forward, the relocation is starting,” he added, saying that the informal settlers have already been informed that they will be relocated for “quite some time.”

The NSCR is an P873.6 billion railway project by the government which would cover some 147 kilometers from Clark in Pampanga to Calamba in Laguna.

The PNR chair previously said that this new railway project, which is targeted to be completed in five years, will be able to serve some 800,000 passengers a day upon completion.

“The (P873) billion budget of the DOTr [Department of Transportation] and PNR for the North-South Commuter Railway includes the relocation allowance for our compatriots. We are in contact with the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development, and the National Housing Authority in moving our affected compatriots to resettlement areas,” Macapagal explained.


As for the location of resettlement areas, he noted that he had received a directive from Malacañang and Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista to relocate affected persons to the same provinces or municipalities where they were initially residing.

“The order of the President and the Secretary is that if they [informal settlers] were removed from Laguna, they should also be relocated to Laguna. If they were removed from Manila, they should also be relocated to Manila,” the PNR chair said.

He, however, noted that this relocation initiative comes with challenges, particularly in terms of right-of-way issues.

READ: PNR to suspend Metro Manila operations for 5 years starting March 28 

“The right of way issues, I admit, (are) very challenging. However, I can safely say that from Clark to Valenzuela, the construction work is anywhere from 80 to 85 percent finished. That has been handled well and I admire the political will that was put in the process of taking care of that,” the government official said.

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An official from the PNR previously told that the NSCR’s Clark to West Valenzuela route will begin partial operations in the tail-end of 2027.

The PNR halted its operations for five years starting March 28 to make way for the rail project’s construction.

TAGS: North-South Commuter Railway, Philippine National Railways

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