House to probe Mindanao Railway Project

The House of Representatives is set to do an inquiry on the Mindanao Railway Project’s (MRP) expropriation and acquisition of the road right of way.

In House Resolution No. 2321, Representatives Paolo Z. Duterte and Eric Go Yap called for the investigation, in aid of legislation, on the Department of Transportation’s Mindanao Railway Project in particular the Phase 1 of the said project.

Phase 1 of MRP covers a 105-kilometer line that covers Davao del Norte, Davao City and Davao del Sur with eight stations located in Tagum City, Carmen, Panabo City, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos City.

The two congressmen said that they have received various reports about the “variations in the offers for acquisition of road right of way (RROW) or expropriation of the private properties by the DOTr and/or its contractors, sub-contractors, or other service providers.”

These variations in offers, Reps. Duterte and Yap said, have substantial discrepancies from the actual zonal value or fair market value of the properties affected.

The House inquiry aims to revisit existing laws and rules on the manner of acquisition of right of way and expropriation of private properties affected by government works, infrastructure, and other projects and to strengthen the same or come up with new and better mechanisms to ensure that all affected stakeholders, whether from the public or private sector, are adequately compensated and protected by applicable laws and rules.

In a phone interview Thursday, October 28, Rep. Duterte said they received information that some individuals were buying properties along the 105 kilometer line at a very low price and are selling it to DOTr at a higher price.

Added to this, the Dabawenyo congressman said, some landowners have also been opposing the construction of the railway project right smack at some of the existing subdivisions in Davao City.

The young Duterte said some of the affected barangays are planning on coming out with a resolution opposing the said project.

Phase 1 of the MRP has a budget of P35.91 billion.

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