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Inter-agency committee formed to streamline land acquisition for nat'l railway projects

MANILA, Philippines — The government has created an inter-agency committee to standardize the process of land acquisition for the implementation of the country’s railway projects.

In a news release by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Monday, it said that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Administrative Order (AO) No. 19, creating the Inter-Agency Committee for Right-of-Way (ROW) Activities for National Railway Projects.

The PCO said that the committee's responsibilities include coordinating the execution of railway projects and policies. It has the authority to identify required services or programs pertaining to land acquisition and other activities related to railway construction.

“It will also identify effective existing policies, agreements, contracts, and other similar arrangements between and among government agencies, consolidate and mobilize agency resources to streamline budgeting, deliberate and resolve issues, grievance and create technical working groups to implement the order,” the PCO’s release read. 

The committee will be led by the Transportation secretary, with the head of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development serving as the co-chair.

The panel of the committee would also include representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General.

This action is prompted by Republic Act No. 10752, commonly referred to as the Right-of-Way Act. The legislation empowers the government to obtain essential real estate for the "right-of-way" of national government infrastructure projects, utilizing methods such as donation, negotiated purchase, expropriation, or other means of acquisition.

The administrative order was signed by Marcos on March 25.