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