For property owners within the planned route of the Mindanao Railway, the project has transitioned from an assembly of graphical representations of planned stations and press releases and community meetings, to a life-altering reality. The Department of Transportation has started personal delivery of formal notices that declared -- in no uncertain terms -- the Philippine government's intention to acquire their properties for the railway.

Based on reports from members of the Mindanao Railway Watcher's community, two types of notices are delivered within weeks of each other:

  • Notice of Taking
  • Request for Donation

The latter document may sound surprising in light of the gravity of the change to an affected resident's personal circumstances. Nevertheless, it is remains a practical measure on behalf of the Filipino taxpayer who will foot the bill for the project. After all, if a property owner is indeed willing to offer their property for the greater good of the republic . . . why not?

Both documents will be explored in this article.

Notice of Taking

Based on information volunteered by community members, Notices of Taking were issued at least 200 days after their properties were tagged by inspectors as part of the alignment survey process. As of writing, there remain significant numbers of property owners that have not yet received their own notices.

These notices include the following information:

  • Full identification of a property owner's title number, property dimensions, and a map showing the property in relation to the railway alignment
  • A list of documents the property owner must submit to the DOTr
  • Contact information, both email and telephone, for the DOTr case handler assigned to property owner's case

Samples of a Notices of Taking are shown below. Many thanks to the homeowners who share their documents. For their privacy, all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) have been removed.

From a property owner in Catalunan Grande

First page of the notice
listing documentary
Second page with contact
information for the case
Map of the affected property in
relation to the right of way
Sketch plan of the property.
In this example, only part of
the property is actually
affected by the right-of-way


From a property owner in Bato, Toril, who will be affected by the Bato station itself.

First page of the notice
listing documentary


From a property owner in Panabo

First page of the notice
Map of the affected property in
relation to the right of way


Note: A property owner in Tagum shared a similar notice. But unlike the examples above, the notice was issued by the City of Tagum. As of writing we are still awaiting commentary from the MRPO about the document.

Request for Donation

After the Notices of Taking are delivered to the property owners, they are then sent this request. The text of the document outlines the spirit in which the request was communicated.

. . . consistent with Section 4 of Republic Act No. 10752, otherwise known as "The Right-of-Way Act" of 2016 and the DOTR's Right-of-Way and Site Acquisition Manual, we wish to formally inquire if you would be willing to donate the parcel of land . . . to the Republic of the Philippines, as a gesture of support to the National Government's iniatives in infrastructure and economic development, and nation-building for the common good.

This document also allows the property owner to formally indicate that they want to be compensated for the property that will be acquired.

The following are examples of Requests for Donation of affected properties issued by the DOTr. In both examples below, the property owners indicated that they were "Not amenable to donate". They have not yet received the formal purchase offer from the DOTr. 

Catalunan Grande Panabo