Pulong wants MRP done the right way


Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Z. Duterte is not opposing the continuance of the Mindanao Railway Project which was crafted by the past administration of his father, Rodrigo Duterte, and will allegedly be continued by the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The young congressman however said that the national government must look into several complaints and acccusation of anomalies by some residents affected by the planned project.

For this, Rep. Duterte along with Benguet lone district Rep. Eric Yap filed House Resolution (HR) No.286, which calls for a congressional investigation on the proposed MRP, specifically on the way the Department of Transportation (DOTr) carried out its right-of-way acquisitions and expropriation of private properties to be affected by the rail line.

Rep. Duterte said that he received numerous complaints from Davao City residents whose residences would be directly affected by the proposed railway line.

He said the proposed MRP rail line would pass through densely populated areas in Davao City, “without the appropriate geological surveys or proper public consultations with the affected communities”.

Duterte and Yap however acknowledged in their resolution that the MRP “will not only make travel faster, but also safer, more convenient and comfortable for passengers in the said corridor”.

Rep. Duterte however added that the complaints must also be given weight especially on the report that “there are variations in the offers for acquisition of right-of-way or expropriation of the private properties by the DOTr and/or its contractors, sub-contractors, or other service providers.”

“These variations in offers have substantial discrepancies from the actual Zonal Value or Fair Market Value of the properties affected,” the two congressmen said.

Though not naming names, Rep. Duterte said there were also reports that some politicians bought vast parcel of lands where the rail line will be constructed at a cheap price and are now selling it to the government ten times or more than the original price.

It was learned that the Barangay Catalunan Grande in Davao City has already passed a resolution opposing the MRP as it would affect several residences in their barangay and would “result to undue safety and health hazard, as well as noise pollution, to name a few.”

“There is a need to properly determine the correct and appropriate manner of identifying the areas where the MRP will traverse in order to ensure public safety and welfare while still being able to pursue the MRP for sustained growth and development in the region,” Reps. Duterte and Yap said in filing HR No.286.

Rep. Duterte and Yap said the probe will “ensure transparency and accountability on the use of public funds while always keeping in mind the safety and welfare of the general populace in the delivery of public services”.

Back in the 18th Congress, the two congressmen also filed a similar call for a probe.

The three-phase MRP covers 1,530 kilometers of circumferential and spur rail lines that will connect several areas in Mindanao like the Davao provinces, Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City, General Santos City, and Zamboanga.

Phase 1 of the MRP (Tagum-Davao-Digos segment) is a 105-km line that is expected to reduce travel time from Davao del Norte to Davao del Sur from 3.5 hours to just 1.3 hours. It will have eight stations: Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos. A 10-hectare depot will be built in Tagum City. (PR)

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