Lobregat railway bill among first 1,000 bills in Congress PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 11:27

By DEXTER YAP

House Bill 123 otherwise  known as “an Act Creating the Mindanao Railway Corporation”, authored by Congressman Celso Lobregat was picked as one of the priority bills to be discussed by the members of the 17th Congress.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez revealed that he has chosen this bill of Lobregat to be one among the first 1,000 bills and 75 resolutions referred for committee deliberations and are expected to reach the plenary at random in this week’s sessions.

Alvarez said the lower chamber has already distributed the committee chairmanships last week leaving no reason for the panels not to start the deliberation and then approval of these bills.

There are at least 41 regular committees and two special committees at the lower chamber, land use and food security.

Among the bills ready for deliberations is HB 123, or “An Act Creating the Mindanao Railways Corporation” considered by Alvarez as a flagship project of the Duterte administration.

As this developed, Socio Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told newsmen that the government is likely to start constructing the Mindanao Railway system hopefully next year as one of the priority infrastructure projects of President Duterte.

Pernia said that the project details and costs are currently being discussed describing this project in Mindanao as “long overdue”.

Pernia said the project is deemed crucial to the economic development of Mindanao as it will connect major cities like Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigaio, Davao, and General Santos along about 2,000 kilometers of railway transport system.

The secretary said that Congressman Lobregat of Zamboanga City will form part of the team that will make sure that this project will be realized as being envisioned by the highest official of the land.

In funding needed, Pernia noted the project has attracted the interest from both local and international investors – to include China and Japan, as well as the Official Development Assistance (ODA).

In terms of completing the railway system, it is probably going to be beyond the administration of Duterte considering its large funding requirements, Pernia said.

Rep. Lobregat filed House Bill No. 123 in the opening of their sessions last June 30 at 1:30 pm and it was the 125th Bill filed for the 17th Congress.

Lobregat expressed hope and optimism that the Mindanao Railway System will take off under the Duterte administration as it is one of the mentioned flagship projectd of the president and the fact that Senator Koko Pimentel, the author of the railway corporation in the senate, is the incoming Senate President and representative Mark Villar, another author, will be the incoming DPWH Secretary.

The proposed MRP will compliment programs/ projects that will address the lingering problem on poor quality of roads and incomplete road networks in some parts of Mindanao.

The collective experience of Japan, Canada, the United States of America and most of Europe shows how railroad networks have spurred and sped up the national development. In these nations, railroads opened up vast land areas for human settlement and made it possible to transport tremendous number of people and huge volume of goods at the lowest cost. – Dexter Yap with reports from 17th Congress Media Affairs and Public Relations Service