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Congressman Alfred Vargas, representative of the 5th district of Quezon City, submitted House Bill 7117 on July 18, 2020. This bill sought to restructure the Philippine National Railways and create regional railway corporations. The Mindanao Railway is cited in this section of his bill.

Article VI
Railway Corporations

There is hereby created three (3) separate and distinct corporations which shall operate railways in the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, to be known, respectively as the Luzon Railway Corporation ("LRC"), the Visayas Railway Corporation ("VRC") and the Mindanao Railway Corporation ("MRC"). Said Corporations shall exist for a term of fifty (50) years upon the approval of the President of the Philippines.

The LRC shall have its main office in Clark, Pampanga, the VRC in Panay Island, and the MRC in Tagum City, Davao, and shall have such branches within their respective areas of jurisdiction as may be necessary for the proper conduct of their business.

The three corporations above would be regulated by the Philippine National Railway Development Authority, which is explained elsewhere in the bill.


Status and summary of the bill

Session No.: 18-2RS-002

Significance: NATIONAL

Date Filed: 2020-07-18

Principal Author/s: VARGAS, ALFRED

Date Read: 2020-07-29


Status: Pending with the Committee on GOVERNMENT ENTERPRISES AND PRIVATIZATION since 2020-07-29


Explanatory note

The explanatory note for this bill appears below. This has be reproduced as-is.

The transport system is the lifeline of a nation. It carries the speed and efficiency on the road to progress. Global experts believe that rail transport systems are more energy efficient and economical than roads. A reliable and efficient railway system provides timely mobility to passengers, goods and services, which are key elements to economic growth.

The Philippines has been operating railways for over a hundred years yet our rail infrastructure lags behind our neighboring countries. There seem to exist unresolved systemic and institutional issues. The deficiency is made worse by the fact that there is a regulatory chaos since there is no central authority regulating the Philippine Railway System.

The existing regulatory framework failed to address the daily problems encountered by the train system, particularly the Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit (MRT). The usual technical failure lead to unsuccessful delivery of efficient, safe, and comfortable mode of transportation to the riding public. The case of Philippine National Railways (PNR) is worse, as it desperately needs modernization.

The incumbent administration aims to complete six of 10 railroad projects by mid-2022. Of the six railway projects, one is a 102km Mindanao Rail project that runs from Digos City in Davao del Sur through Davao City to Tagum City in Davao del Norte.

As for Visayas, there is no plan yet for a railway system, which can render necessary services in the transport of goods and people around these areas. Consequently, the absence of functioning railways and trains have hampered potential economic growth and development.

In view of the foregoing, the immediate passage of this bill is earnestly sought.


Text of the bill

The text of the bill is available here.