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DOTr readies China’s aid for Bicol Express

ENHANCEMENT OF THE OLD. The photo shows the old model of the Bicol Express which ran back and forth between Manila and Bicol Region within ten hours. The new model of the train will travel between the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region V in just 6 hours in speed of 80-120 kilometers per hour.

NAGA CITY---The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Philippine National Railways (PNR) now prepare the kick-start of South Long Haul project to revive Bicol Express which will travel back and forth from Calamba City in Laguna to Legazpi City in Albay.

The construction of phase 1 of the railway, part of the project, is expected by DOTr to start in the second quarter next year.

The department recently revealed that the completion of the project will cost P175 billion, an overseas development aid from China, which will be returned by the government within twenty years with two percent interest per annum.

Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs Marvel Clavecilla told Bicol Mail that he and the Regional Development Council will meet on December 6, this year in Legazpi City to finalize the project.

Clavecilla said the meeting aims to know further the needs of the Bicolanos before the project starts.

He said the revival of Bicol Express, as part of the Build Build Build (BBB) program of the Duterte Administration, is beneficial to Bicol Region. PNR General Manager Junn Magno revealed that the 408 kilometer project was supposedly began before 2020.

Magno explained that they have finished their auction of the project late, this month.

The 408 kilometer South Long Haul project, also part of the 639 kilometer Long Haul Manila project that will reach Sorsogon, is included in the PNR Railway System Program of the government that will feature back and forth travel between Clark, Pampanga and Matnog, Sorsogon.

Unlike the old model of Bicol Express train which traveled back and forth from Manila to Bicol Region within ten hours, the new unit is fast as 6 hours due to its designed speed of 120 kilometers per hour and operational speed of 80 kilometers per hour.

The PNR will construct train stations in Paco, Manila; FTI; Los Baños, Laguna; Lucena City and Gumaca town in Quezon Province; Naga City and Pili, Camarines Sur; Legazpi City in Albay; and in city of Sorsogon and Matnog town .

The Luzon rail system of PNR and DOTr is part of the infrastructure project of BBB.

Infrastructures nearby railways will be demolished.

The DOTr warned that illegal settlers dwelling inside the PNR’s 15 meters right of way that the agency will eject their homes, as they are considered an obstruction.

From Manila to Malolos in Bulacan, there are 443 infrastructures will be demolished while 100,000 families will be affected by the demolition from Paco, Manila to Matnog, Sorsogon.

From Pagbilao in Quezon Province, 60,000 families will be relocated in Legazpi City.

The resettlement of these families will cost P45 billion of the development aid while P9 billion will be spent by the PNR for land acquisition to give way to the construction of additional railways, also from the same fund. (Danny P. Aureus and Paulo DS. Papa)

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