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DOTr bares Bicol Express plans

epartment of Transportation Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez reveals that they intend to have the Manila to Bicol line be operational by 2022. Bicol Standard

NAGA CITY, Philippines (Bicol Standard) – Reconstruction, not rehabilitation.

This is the plan of Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez on the much-awaited Bicol Express project of the Philippine National Railways.

“Bagong riles, bagong estasyon, bagong bagon, management, sistema,” is how he described the government’s vision.

Chavez revealed that they intend to have the Manila to Bicol line be operational by 2022.

Under the new Bicol Express, passengers from Paco, Manila to Matnog, Sorsogon will have a travel time of only seven hours.

He also revealed that the project, which is estimated to cost P175 billion, will be funded by China.

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“Action will start in six months,” he said.

China, according to Chavez, committed to finish the construction in three years.

Meantime, the government is tasked to relocate the informal settlers in two years and to clear the road right of way.

There are around 100,000 informal settler families that would be affected by the project, according to Chavez.

“We will have a whole government approach,” he explained. “We will coordinate with other government agencies like the NHA and DILG, among others, to make this goal a reality.”

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Melissa Basmayor is the editor-in-chief of the Bicol Standard, a regional partner of Philstar.com.

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