A DEPARTMENT of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) official has asked the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Western Visayas to immediately take action on the proposed revival of Panay railway system.

DOTC Undersecretary Guiling Mamondiong said it is the sole responsibility of RDC chaired by Antique Governor Salvacion Perez to submit the feasibility study of the proposed Panay Railway Inc. (PRI) project to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) in Manila.

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He said the project’s feasibility study has long been submitted to the region’s planning body, and the RDC should take action on it as no government project plans could be finalized without the council’s endorsement of the study.

Mamondiong, however, admitted in a recent Ulat ng Bayan forum in Iloilo City that he is pinning hope on the new administration to take recognition of the project’s importance and the economic value it would bring to Panay Island.

The railway system was the most important means of transportation in Iloilo and Capiz provinces after World War II. Commuters in two provinces would take the train to bring in their products and services.

The railway system was also expanded to serve the booming sugar industry in central Panay during the time of late President Ferdinand Marcos.

However, it suffered a decline as more concrete highways were built parallel to the railroads that eventually stopped railway operations by the 1980s.

Mamondiong said the new study encompasses massive rehabilitation and reconstruction of the railways from Iloilo to Roxas City, Capiz and up to Kalibo and Caticlan in Aklan province.

He said the DOTC plan hopes to give tourists and visitors to the island paradise of Boracay a more comfortable, faster and safe means of transportation through the railways.