EconomyEditor's PickDoTr says Mindanao rail House probe an opportunity to explain procedures

November 3, 2021

THE TRANSPORTATION department welcomed the proposed investigation on the Mindanao railway project at the House of Representatives, saying it will be a venue for explaining government procedures on right-of-way as well as address concerns of affected residents.

In a statement released to local media Wednesday, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) central office said it understands the position of some stakeholders, particularly owners of properties that are along the railway’s alignment.

It said officials of the department and its project management office on the ground are continuously holding engagements with those affected by the project.

“We wish to assure the committee of the DoTr’s fullest cooperation and transparency, aligned with our commitment to implementing this long overdue mega transport project for Mindanao. In this light, allow us to respectfully note that DoTr is not the entity that directly undertakes the appraisal of properties that need to be acquired for the construction of MRP (Mindanao Railway Project),” the statement said.

On Oct. 28, 2021, Davao City Rep. Paolo Z. Duterte and ACT-CIS Party Rep. Eric Go Yap filed a resolution calling for a committee investigation on alleged “variations in the offers for the acquisition of road right-of-way or expropriation of the private properties by the DoTr and/or its contractors, sub-contractors, or other service providers.”

The inquiry aims to revisit existing laws and rules on right-of-way acquisition and expropriation of private properties affected by government projects.

The first phase of the project, with a P35.91-billion budget that will be financed by China, covers 105 kilometers connecting the cities of Davao, Tagum, and Digos in Davao Region. — Maya M. Padillo

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