TAGUM CITY—In a move seen to fast-track the implementation of the Mindanao Railway Project, the national government will soon download the 500 million peso-budget to the City Government of Tagum intended for the land acquisition to pave way for the kick off of the construction of the first phase of the ambitious project connecting the capital cities of the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.
This as the national government, through the Department of Transportation, and the City Government of Tagum signed the Memorandum of Agreement which allows the transfer of the fund culled out from the 5.6 billion budget provided in the General Appropriations Act solely for land acquisition and fees for the services on appraisal, survey works and administrative costs needed under the project.
Under the MOA, the local government is tasked to prepare and submit a program of work for the acquisition of the affected lots and improvements found thereon, including related and ancillary activities.
Actual payment to the affected property owners will also be carried out by the LGU using the downloaded funds, as incorporated in the agreement.
No less than DOTr Assistant Secretary Eymard Eje and Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon inked the agreement at the City Hall of Tagum Monday, December 17, 2018, and witnessed by City Hall executives.
The total fund to be spent on property payments, however, has yet to be ascertained pending the ground survey and land valuation activities, the cost of which will be dictated by prevailing market rates.
The Tagum segment of the project will host the 10-hectare main depot of the railway and will be mainly located in Barangay Mankilam.
Data from the City Planning and Development Office revealed that a total of 158 families in Tagum will be affected in the project living in seven puroks in Barangays Mankilam and San Miguel.
In a recent development, the national government will also allocate considerable amount for the relocation of informal settlers affected in the said project.
The Mindanao Railway Project, which is part of the Build Build Build Program of the Duterte Administration, will connect key cities in Mindanao and is expected to spur economic growth in the region.
Construction of this railway project is expected to commence on February 2019. Louie Lapat/CIO Tagum