Home News Cagayan Valley Cagayan CEZA pushes to build own Cagayan railway system, expressways

CEZA pushes to build own Cagayan railway system, expressways

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) Administrator lawyer Raul Lambino said they plan to build expressways and an inter-province railway system.

In a special meeting of the Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) on Saturday, November 18, Lambino said they “cannot afford to wait” for the national government to work on the planned North Luzon Railway System.

“We should not be dependent on the railway line or alignment of the Philippine National Railway which is only up to San Jose (City, Nueva Ecija),” he said.

Representatives from the Department of Transportation said the planned 575-kilometer system only stretches from Manila to Tarlac, Tarlac to La Union, Tarlac to San Jose City, and San Jose City to Tuguegarao City.

Yet, Lambino said the national government has yet to think of how to plan for such a route to Cagayan, and that it is highly possible that the railway will only run up to Tuguegarao City.

“We cannot wait for that. I know how difficult decisions are made in the higher level,” the CEZA chief said.

Instead, Lambino suggested to IDC members, including its chairman Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, that CEZA will lead in the construction of an inter-provincial railway system.

Such a railway line will link Tuguegarao to Lal-lo, and Lal-lo to the towns of Santa Ana, Aparri, and Claveria.

Photo from the Regional Development Council, obtained by Gerard Lucena (The Northern Forum)

Lambino said CEZA will be using its corporate money to fund these projects.

Own expressway

The CEZA administrator also expressed CEZA’s plans of building its own Cagayan expressway, linking Tuguegarao City to Lal-lo, and Lal-lo to Aparri, Santa Ana, and Santa Praxedes towns.

He said this will lessen the travel time of both tourists and residents.

This is also eyed as a possible plan to speed up travel to Santa Ana, as there is also a plan to make Lal-lo the financial and commercial center of the province.

The planned four-lane expressway will stretch almost 60 km long, Lambino said.

Lambino stressed that these plans should be done “side-by-side” with the Cagayan railway system.

“Once we have already agreed to this alignment, then we can start thinking, planning already on how we can acquire the right of ways,” he said.

Further, he said that CEZA has alerted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to identify which available government lands can be considered as road rights of way.

“It will be very difficult to negotiate later on if there are already claimants of such properties owned by the government,” Lambino said.

Earlier reports revealed that Philippines is seeking a possible grant from Russia to finance a study on the proposed railway. Lambino revealed that he has also discussed with other nations including China for the same proposal.

Meanwhile, Governor Mamba said they will closely coordinate with CEZA, DOTr, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and local government units.

As IDC chair, Governor Mamba also urged DOTr to include these in the agency’s plans. Northernforum.net

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