Wednesday, 25 February 2009

All Systems Go for Philippine Railway Linkage Project

HUDCC Turns Over Close to 10km cleared right-of-way to PNR

THE railroad tracks in Metro Manila are getting more and more visible as Vice President and concurrent Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman Noli 'Kabayan' De Castro turned over to the Philippine National Railways (PNR), another 1.5 km of cleared right-of-way (ROW) covering the Tondo sub-segment of the Northrail-Southrail Linkage Project (NSLP).

This is the result of the clearing operations and massive relocation of informal settler families living in slum communities along the Northrail and Southrail tracks undertaken by the National Housing Authority (NHA) as part of the PNR's rehabilitation and modernization program.

The Manila segment of the NSLP spans over an 11.85 km stretch involving 16,179 families from Tondo, Sta. Cruz, Sampaloc, Sta. Mesa, Pandacan, Paco, and San Andres sub-segments (North to South). To date, 15,021 families have been relocated comprising about 93% of the total magnitude for relocation in Manila.

With the clearing of the 1.5 km stretch of the Tondo sub-segment comprising 13 barangays, the total cleared ROW now covers a total of 9.85 km or 83% already cleared. The remaining 2.0 km in Tondo is expected to be completed by end of February 2009.

“We will complete the rail resettlement program this year. This is part of our contribution to the government’s 10-Point Agenda to decongest Metro Manila by opening up the nearby provinces through infrastructure development”, Vice President and HUDCC Chairman De Castro said.

Since the start of the relocation programs for the Northrail and Rail Linkage projects, more than 55,000 families have been given permanent homes in different resettlement sites, the most massive, peaceful, and humane relocation implemented by government to pave the way for the modernization of the Philippine railway system.

Of this total, 21,232 families came from the Northrail’s PNR right-of-way spanning Kalookan to Mabalacat, Pampanga while some 34,367 families were from the NSLP, which stretches from the southern part of Kalookan to Calamba, Laguna.

“It is not just simply clearing the railways to make way for a faster and modern rail transport system. It is also important to provide the relocated families with improved living conditions and access to basic services in cooperation with the private sector and the local government units,” De Castro said.

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