Marcos creates right-of-way committee for railway projects

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.(Photo from Bongbong Marcos Facebook page)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has created an inter-agency committee to streamline the process of acquiring lands for the implementation of the Philippine railroad projects.

Based on Administrative Order No. 19 dated 25 March but was only released to the public on Tuesday, Marcos created the Inter-Agency Committee for Right-of-Way (ROW) Activities for National Railway Projects.

“The Inter-Agency Committee for ROW Activities for National Railway Projects (Committee) is hereby created to study and devise an efficient and collaborative mechanism to streamline the process of land acquisition necessary for the implementation of all railway projects,” Marcos said in the AO.

Malacañang mentioned that the committee’s powers and functions include coordinating the implementation of railway policies and projects, crafting and approving project-specific policies and programs, and identifying the appropriate services or programs concerning land acquisition and other ROW activities, such as livelihood, income restoration, and resettlement.

“It will also identify effective existing policies, agreements, contracts, and other similar arrangements between and among government agencies, consolidate and mobilize agency resources to streamline budgeting, deliberate and resolve issues, grievance and create technical working groups to implement the order,” Malacañang said.

The administrative order made the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as the chair, alongside the head of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development as co-chair, of the committee.

Included in the committee are representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

The Philippine National Railway (PNR) will act as the Secretariat of the Committee, offering administrative and technical assistance.

Republic Act (RA) No. 10752, or the "Right-of-Way (ROW) Act," empowers the government to obtain necessary real property for national government infrastructure projects through donation, negotiated sale, expropriation, or other means.

Aligned with the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 and its 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda, the administration seeks to enhance the Philippine transportation sector by providing sustainable and cost-effective transportation choices to connect communities with economic, social, and cultural hubs.

Priority infrastructure projects in the transportation sector under the administration include the Metro Manila Subway Project, North-South Commuter Railway System, Mindanao Railway Project, and PNR South Long Haul, which aim to enhance mobility, connectivity, and growth centers beyond the urban-industrial areas.

Daily Tribune