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[ Mindanao ] Railway system taking shape

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] December 24, 2008

By NONOY E. LACSON


Expected to accelerate economic growth in Mindanao, DoTC says


ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) said that the master plan for the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) is taking shape and is now on its advance stage of completing the feasibility studies for the various levels of the vital project.


DoTC Undersecretary for Railways Guiling Mamondiong said his office has already completed the bidding process for the conduct of comprehensive railway feasibility studies for the MRS in Mindanao.


Mamondiong said the conduct of the railway studies for the MRS had started recently for the revision of the feasibility study of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor (CIC) segment; pre-feasibility study for the Cagayan de Oro-Davao-General Santos line; technical assessment for the Iligan-Zamboanga section; and the Strategic Railway Development Plan for Mindanao.


The pre-feasibility study for the Cagayan de Oro-General Santos segment and the Technical Assessment for the Iligan-Zamboanga City section are expected to be completed by the 3rd quarter of 2009, the DoTC official said.


The proposed railroad project will connect the various urban centers and provincial capitals in Mindanao such as Davao City, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato City, Marawi, Pagadian, Dipolog, this city, and other potential areas of development.


The system is expected to accelerate economic activity, immensely benefiting the traders and businessmen of Mindanao.


Meanwhile, House Speaker Prospero Nograles also said that the government is not sleeping on its programs and aspirations for the people in Mindanao as he vowed to pursue the MRS project to realize development in Mindanao.


Nograles claimed that the House of Representatives is working hard to realize this long-overdue program, for the people of Mindanao, to provide a "reliable, efficient and viable" transportation network.


Representatives 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, have also filed separate bills – all seeking to establish the Mindanao Railways Authority.


All these urgent measures 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, Nograles said.


It was learned that House Bill 158 proposed the creation of the Mindanao Railways Corporation (MRC) which will provide the railroad system needed by the island.


Most Mindanao congressmen said "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," Nograles said.

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