THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) has set an initial budget of P5.7 billion for the acquisition of Right of Way (Row) for the Mindanao Railway Project Tagum-Davao-Digos.
Committee on public works and highways chair Councilor Jesus Joseph Zozobrado on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 set a hearing inviting all the homeowners and business establishments affected by the project and DOTr Assistant Secretary Eymard Eje for some concerns on the project.
“Initially we have, under the 2018 General Appropriations Act, we have almost P5.6 billion allocated for the Row site acquisition,” Eje said in an interview with Sunstar Davao on Wednesday.
“We have LGUs (local government units) concerned which are affected with the alignment. We have already forged a memorandum of agreement with the five LGUs for the downloading of the respective funds allocated for the acquisition of ROW,” he added.
Bulk of the Row budget will go to Davao City. They have alloted some P2.4 billion here and will be downloaded to the Department of Public Works and Highways. Around P1.1 billion will also go to Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur while Carmen in Davao del Norte will get P700 million. Around P500 million each will be given to Tagum City and Panabo City in Davao del Norte and Digos City in Davao del Sur.
“Based on our initial assessment, the [allocation] is somehow enough but we believe that there will be some adjustments later on soon as we already implement the actual construction of the project because as of this time, we have not seen the actual 100-kilometer alignment,” Eje said.
During the previous committee hearing, some homeowners expressed concern over their properties and some even demanded exact map of the realignment.
Zozobrado explained that the realignment is still ongoing so they still cannot give them final list of affected areas.
Meanwhile, Eje reminded the public that they are not against the people; hence the project has been one of the priorities of President Rodrigo Duterte to bring comfort to the public.
“With this committee hearing, we will able to relay to the constituents that we are here for them, not against them. This project will certainly benefit Davao Region in terms of economy and making their lives comfortable,” he said.