MABALACAT City Mayor Crisostomo Garbo has asked the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to distribute the lands inside the train tracks here to some 6,456 families or 29,052 informal settlers.
Garbo, in his letter to PNR board chairman Roberto Lastimoso and general Manager Junn Magno dated April 26, 2019, stated that the properties should be distributed to the actual occupants if the railway corporation will no longer utilize the train’s old alignment.
“Should the subject PNR property shall no longer be used considering the entirely different line where the North-South Commuter Railway Extension (NSCR-Ex) Project shall be constructed, the city government of Mabalacat humbly proposes and requests that the same be distributed to its bona fide Mabalaqueño occupants,” Garbo told Lastimoso and Magno.
On January 8, 2018, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) invited the city government of Mabalacat to an orientation, briefing and coordination on the flagship projects of President Rodrigo Duterte, which is the railway extension from Malolos, Bulacan to Clark Freeport, according to the mayor.
“As one of the local government units where the proposed railway shall pass through, our cooperation and support was sought to ensure smooth and coordinated implementation of the project,” Garbo said.
During the meeting, it was revealed that the new railway will no longer be aligned along the old track based on the official plan.
“A close perusal of the official plan of the North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project will show that the new railway line shall no longer be using the PNR right of way, as the instant project shall be constructed in a different location far from the latter,” he added.
Considering the apparent abandonment of the subject PNR property, Garbo is inquiring the agency’s plans for the properties.
Garbo assured the PNR officials that the local government is willing to cooperate and assist the agency and other departments in the distribution of the property.
The mayor said that city planning officer Rosann Paquia was designated to take charge of all coordination and communication with the PNR regarding the LGU’s proposal.
“It is but our foremost aspiration that no Mabalaqueño shall be an informal settler in Mabalacat,” Garbo told the PNR executives.