Monday, April 18, 2011

Railway revival planned to link Iloilo and Capiz

Relics of Panay railway in Passi City
By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer Visayas
First Posted 22:35:00 04/17/2011

ROXAS CITY – Panay Island hopes to bring back a part of its historic past with the planned revival of the railway system connecting the provinces of Iloilo and Capiz.

The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Western Visayas in its first quarterly meeting here on Friday approved the P16.017-billion project that is expected to boost the island’s economy and tourism industry.

The railway system will connect the cities of Iloilo and Roxas spanning 170.36 kilometers and will include access routes to the international port in Iloilo City and airport in Cabatuan town in Iloilo.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, chair of the RDC’s infrastructure development committee, said the project has been endorsed by the city governments of Roxas and Iloilo, the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo and the municipal governments of areas along the railway system.

Mabilog said the revival of the railway system would provide a much needed alternate mode of transportation that would cut short travel time between Iloilo and Capiz.
The project is the first phase in the revival of the Panay railways system. The second phase involves the railway system from Roxas City to Caticlan in Aklan, the jump-off point to Boracay Island.

Ro-Ann Bacal, regional director of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), said the project would be implemented on a public-private-partnership (PPP) scheme.
She said Neda had forwarded the project to the PPP Center which would assist the proponents in looking for possible foreign investors.

The late Western Visayas historian Henry F. Funtecha wrote that the railway line between Iloilo and Capiz as among the developed transport systems in the Philippines during the early 20th century.

Funtecha said the origin of the railway system in Panay could be traced in 1906 when the Philippine Commission authorized the Philippine Railway Company in Manila to construct and operate a railway line in other parts of the country.



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