Chiz: PNR rehab not under Duterte’s watch


By Mar S. Arguelles

SORSOGON CITY --- Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said last week that the completion of the government’s South railway project in Bicol would not happen even after President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends in 2021.

Escudero said that at the rate that the project is being implemented it would take at least 10 years for this railway project to reach Matnog, Sorsogon.

“By that time, we have a new president,” Escudero said.

According to Escudero, he has yet to see a detailed project study from the Philippine National Railways (PNR) on what specific areas, villages, and land areas, including the number of families to be affected by the project.

Escudero in an interview said, “We are still in the dark as to how the project would reach the province.”

He said initial project report shows that for the project to reach Sorsogon, land areas would have to be opened up for the train to traverse.

Under the project design, it would also build a road network

parallel to the railroad tracks, he added.

Once construction starts, he estimated that some 5,000 houses would be affected and be relocated in nearby areas.

The government is set to enter into a construction agreement with China, Korea, and Japan for the south railway project.

The project, dubbed as PNR South Long-Haul Project, carries a P175.3B funding requirement.

The project involves new sets of railway tracks from Tutuban station in Manila to Southern Tagalog and towards Legazpi City in Albay, then to Matnog town in Sorsogon.