Mindanao Railway System masterplan now taking shape
Sunday, December 14, 2008 06:42:38 PM
MANILA, Philippines - The masterplan for the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) is now taking shape as Speaker Prospero C. Nograles today revealed that the Department of Transportation and Communications is on its advance stage of completing the feasibility studies for the various levels of the project.
"We are not sleeping on our people's aspirations," said Nograles, who is in receipt of an updated report on the bidding process for the conduct of railway feasibility studies for the MRS made by DOTC Undersecretary for Railways Guiling Mamondiong.
On Day One as the first Speaker from Mindanao, Nograles vowed to pursue the MRS project as a vital part of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's long term development plan to realize development in Mindanao.
Nograles noted that apart from the President's support, the House of Representatives is working hard to realize this long-overdue program to provide Mindanao a "reliable, efficient and viable" transportation network.
He cited five separate but similar bills filed by Reps. Edgardo "Sonny" Angara of Aurora's lone district, Antonio Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur, Raul Gonzalez, Jr. of Iloilo, Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro, and Pedro Romualdo of Camiguin, all seeking to establish a Mindanao Railways Authority.
All these measures are under urgent consideration and are being consolidated by the House Committee on Transportation chaired by Rep. Monico Puentevella of Bacolod City in coordination with the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization headed by Rep. Felix Alfelor, Jr. of Camarines Sur and the Committee on Mindanao Affairs chaired by Rep. Datu Pax Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat.
Angara, the House Deputy Majority Leader, in his House Bill 158, proposed the creation of the Mindanao Railways Corporation (MRC) which will provide the railroad and the transportation system sorely needed by the island.
"Mindanao has long been a neglected area, and this had caused unrest, resentment, even rebellion from some native groups. We have to reverse this if we want to achieve peace and progress not only in Mindanao but in the entire country as well," Angara said.
He said the proposed railroad which will crisscross Mindanao, if passed into law, will benefit the whole island's populace.
"It will accelerate economic activity, immensely benefiting the traders and businessmen," Angara pointed out.
The railroad will hopefully connect the various urban centers and provincial capitals in Mindanao such as Davao City, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga City, Cotabato City, Marawi, Pagadian, Dipolog and other potential areas of development.
On the other hand, Iloilo City's Rep. Gonzalez even went further to propose a "super body" to exercise control and supervision over the Philippine National Railways (PNR), Light Railway Transit authority (LRTA), Panay Railways, North Luzon Railway Corporation (NLRC) and all other railway offices existing in the country today, including the proposed MRC.
In a November 5 report to the Speaker, Usec Mamondiong said that since August 2008, the bidding process for the conduct of the railway studies for the MRS had started for the following:
1. Revision of the feasibility study for the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor (CIC) segment;
2. Pre-feasibility study for the Cagayan de Oro-Davao-General Santos line;
3. technical assessment for the Iligan-Zamboanga section; and
4. strategic Railway Development Plan for Mindanao.
Mamondiong also told Nograles that the strategic Railway Development Plan for Mindanao (masterplan) including the pre-feasilibity study for the Cagayan de Oro-General Santos segment and the Technical Assessment for the Iligan-Zamboanga section will be completed by the 3rd quarter of 2009.(Gil Bugaoisan)