‘PNR’s Bi­col rail­way project break­ing ground in 2019’

Manila Bulletin - - Luzon News -

LEGAZPI CITY (PNA) – Al­bay Rep. Joey Sal­ceda said he is op­ti­mistic that the Philip­pine Na­tional Rail­ways (PNR) South Rail Project cov­er­ing Manila to Matnog town in Sor­so­gon will break ground next year and will be par­tially op­er­a­tional by 2022.

Sal­ceda said the project up­date was is­sued by the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) dur­ing a com­mit­tee hear­ing on Tues­day.

He said that once the project is com­pleted, travel time from Manila to Sor­so­gon would only take six hours.

Sal­ceda, in a state­ment, said a loan-sign­ing agree­ment be­tween the DOTr and China Ex­portIm­port Bank would take place this month.

He said the project cost was ini­tially placed at R175 bil­lion.

On Nov. 17 this year, the DOTr Project Man­age­ment Con­sult­ing Ser­vice awarded the south rail­way project to the China Rail­way De­sign Corp. and Guangzhou Wanan Con­struc­tion Su­per­vi­sion Corp. of the Repub­lic of China.

The project would be un­der the Over­seas Devel­op­ment As­sis­tance (ODA), where the Peo­ple Repub­lic of China (PRC) would be tasked to pur­sue the PNR com­muter and “long haul” rail project cov­er­ing 639 kilo­me­ters of rail tracks from Manila to Sor­so­gon.

Sal­ceda said the south rail­way sys­tem will start from Manila and pass through Batan­gas, Lucena, Naga, Legazpi, Sor­so­gon, and end at Matnog.

Un­der the agree­ment, China would con­struct and de­velop the fol­low­ing: Civil works, electro­mechan­i­cal sys­tem, rolling stock and con­sult­ing ser­vices while the gov­ern­ment would take charge of land ac­qui­si­tion and re­set­tle­ment of thou­sands of in­for­mal set­tlers af­fected by the project.

The DOTr re­ported that 85,000 fam­i­lies would have to be re­lo­cated once the project starts, Sal­ceda said.

The DOTr is closely co­or­di­nat­ing with the Na­tional Hous­ing Au­thor­ity (NHA) to look for re­lo­ca­tion sites for the af­fected fam­i­lies.

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