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Davao City residents protest proposed Mindanao Railway project

DAVAO CITY – Some property owners in golf and residential estates in Catalunan Pequeño here have complained against the proposed Mindanao Railway Project.

They said they were not consulted and were not properly informed about the project.

“We were not consulted. Most of us here are retirees. We chose this place because this is quiet. The golf course will be affected,” said Paulia Pestaño, one of the homeowners.

Residents attended the city council’s session last Monday to hear the explanation of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the project.

The DOTr reported during the session on Monday that among affected properties were real estate development projects, a golf course, a pharmaceutical laboratory, a proposed town plaza, and commercial developments among others.

In their report, DOTr officials also presented options for a realignment between the Mudiang and Davao stations, and the Monteritz town plaza and Holcim property so the proposed railway would bypass these areas.

This might raise the construction cost, the DOTr said.

These options are still under study and do not give assurance that the major developments would not be affected.

Davao City Councilor Jesus Joseph Zozobrado, chairperson of the city’s committee on public works and highways, said 23 barangays in Davao will be affected by the Mindanao Railway Project, the first segment of which covers the Tagum-Digos-Davao area.

“We will conduct more consultations. As early as January, we will start with our committee hearings,” he said.

Some 10 subdivisions might also be affected.

The Subdivision and Developer Association in Davao City said it would soon issue a statement.

The construction of the P85-billion first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project is set to start in 2019.

It will have the following stations: Tagum City, Carmen, and Panabo City in Davao del Norte; Mudiang and Toril in Davao City; and Sta. Cruz and Digos City in Davao del Sur.

– Vina Araneta-Pilapil, ABS-CBN News