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Cayetano: Mindanao railway system a reality under Duterte presidency

Mike Frialde (Philstar.com) - December 30, 2015 - 10:37pm

MANILA, Philippines - The proposed Mindanao Railway System would be a reality under the presidency of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, his running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano has assured.

According to Cayetano, farmers in Mindanao are complaining that their products are being damaged due to lack of proper transport and shipping system in the region.

Cayetano said that by having a railway system in Mindanao, farmers can transfer food commodities from agricultural areas like North Cotabato to the ports of Davao, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro. Landlocked agricultural areas with no access to ports or cargo-loading airports will greatly benefit from the project.

He added that the proposed 200-kilometer railway system will be among the priorities of a Duterte-Cayetano government, stressing that the P75-billion project will ensure low-cost food supply not only for Mindanaoans, but for the entire country as well.

Cayetano laments that despite the strategic importance of a Mindanao railway system, the national government continued to exclude it from its development plan. 

"Enough with our NCR-centric approach in tackling economic development. Surely, if the national government can fund the construction of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in Metro Manila, which costs P50-billion worth of the public’s money, it can also do the same for Mindanao's long cherished dream of a railway system," Cayetano said. 

“Ang Pilipinas ay hindi lamang ang Maynila. Ang kaunlaran ay hindi lamang para sa iilan. Now is the time to create real changes in the country. If we want economic growth to be really inclusive, we need to spur development in the countryside, particularly in Mindanao," Cayetano added.

It would be recalled that the creation of the proposed Mindanao Railway System is the brainchild of Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao partylist Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr. who have filed House Bill 3055 calling for the creation of Mindanao Railways Corporation.

Under the proposed bill, the Mindanao Railways Corporation would own and operate railroads, tramways and other kinds of land transportation, vessels and pipelines, for the purpose of transporting for consideration, passengers, mails and property between any point in Mindanao.

The Cagayan de Oro congressman cited the experience of Japan, Canada, the United States and most of Europe, which shows that their railroad networks have sped up national development.

He said in these nations, railroads opened up vast land areas, making it possible for tremendous numbers of people to settle huge volume of goods to be transported there at the lowest cost.

"The influx of people into areas previously unsettled and the easy availability of goods needed for civilized life mean higher productivity of the land," he said.

Under the bill, the MRC shall also have the powers to own and/or operate powerhouses, hotels, restaurants, terminals, warehouses, timber concessions, coal mines, iron and other mineral properties and manufacture rolling stocks, equipment, tools and other appliances and construct and operate in connection with its railroad lines, toll viaducts, toll tunnels and the like.

The MRC shall have an authorized capital of P1 billion for its initial operation divided into P10,000,000 shares at par value share of P100, which shall be fully subscribed by the government, the bill said.

The MRC shall be exempted from payment of all taxes of every name and nature, municipal, city, provincial or national.

A continuing annual appropriation of P200 million shall be appropriated from any funds in the National Treasury. 

ALAN PETER CAYETANO ANG PILIPINAS CAYETANO DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO GENERAL SANTOS AND CAGAYAN HOUSE BILL MAXIMO RODRIGUEZ JR. METRO MANILA MINDANAO MINDANAO RAILWAY SYSTEM MINDANAO RAILWAYS CORPORATION
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