The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has inked an agreement with concerned housing agencies on the relocation of around 100,000 informal settler families (ISFs) that will be affected by the construction of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP) next year.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and officials of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Friday with Presidential Commission on Urban Poor Chairperson, James Mark Terry Ridon; National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr.; Social Housing Finance Corporation president Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling; and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Chairman Eduardo del Rosario.
The MOA will enable government agencies to provide affordable housing assistance for ISFs that will be relocated due to the construction of the railway project.
“Talaga pong kinakailangang ma-relocate ang ating mga kababayan na nakatira malapit sa riles, para sa kanilang kaligtasan (We really need to relocate the informal settlers living near the railways for their safety),” PNR Chairman Roberto Lastimoso said.
“Ang MOA signing po na ito ay isang patunay na ang mga ahensya ng pamahalaan ay nagtutulung-tulong para sa pagsasakatuparan ng mga pangako ng administrasyon (This MOA signing is a proof that the government agencies are united in fulfilling the promise of the administration), Tugade said.
For his part, Cabiling said, “We assure you that the houses that we will provide for the affected ISFs are livable, affordable, and inclusive.”
NSRP, also known as the PNR South Long Haul, is a 653-kilometer railway project that will run from Manila to Batangas, Laguna, Bicol, and Sorsogon.
The rail line is expected to reduce travel time from Manila to Laguna from two and a half hours to 45 minutes, while travel time from Manila to the Bicol region will be cut in half from 12 hours to 6 hours.
Construction of the PNR South Long Haul is set to start in 2018 and the railway is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2022.
The railroad’s Commuter Line segment will start from Solis-Hermosa in Manila to Los Baños, Laguna.
Meanwhile, the Long Haul segment will start from Los Banos and will run through Batangas, Quezon, and the Bicol provinces of Camarines Sur and Albay to Sorsogon. (PNA)