By LITO RULONA,
THE House of Congress Committees on Government Enterprise and Privatization on Transportation has approved the creation of Mindanao Railways Corporation under House Bill 3909, prescribing its powers, functions and duties, and providing necessary funds for its operations on March 7.
This was disclosed by Cagayan de Oro Second District Congressman Maxie Rodriguez who is among the author of the bill along with Zamboanga Representative Celso Lobregat and supported by other Mindanao based representatives.
Rodriguez said the bill was formally approved in the committee level chaired by Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes).
“Dugay na kini namo nga gipasa nga proposed bill ug karon pa gyud nahatagan sa pagtagad aron matuman na atong pangandoy nga Mindanao Railway Project nga magsugod sa atong siyudad sa Cagayan de Oro,” he said.
The bill was originally filed in 1987, during the 8th Congress. It was continuously re-filed in the succeeding Congresses, but has always failed to reach the Plenary. But now in the 17th Congress, with President Rodrigo Duterte the proposal became among the top legislative agenda of the House, he added.
Rodriguez said they had been make follow-up during also the time of former-Rep. Rufus Rodriguez but always placed in the committee level. But the long-awaited dream may come true with the construction and operation of the Mindanao railways system.
“Since the President is from Mindanao, we would like to see how this dream will become a reality. Dugay na kaayo kini nga pangandoy og karon matuman na gayud,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto also pushes for the realization of the project to Mindanao’s progress and for working closely with the President in realizing the promise for a Mindanao railway system.
Meanwhike, in a press statement, Rep. Manuel F. Zubiri (3rd District, Bukidnon) also aired the same sentiments that his brother, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, has filed a bill identical to his proposal. He said it is high
time for government to spend more money on the countryside, especially for them in Bukidnon, which is at the center of Mindanao and has no airport nor seaport.
“If this Mindanao Railways Corporation works, this will be a breakthrough for all 22 million people in Mindanao. The region spans 106,000 square kilometres, but our mode of transport is very poor. The only way for us to move forward and progress tremendously is to have a proper transport system all over the island,” Zubiri stressed.