Former Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo “RDR” del Rosario, Sr. has shot down First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez for claiming credit for the Mindanao Railway System (MRS).
RDR said initial concepts of the MRS was first proposed in 1988 by then Davao City Mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte.
Reports have quoted Alvarez as saying the MRS is rising from the ground because, as then Speaker of the House of Representatives, he provided funds for the mega-project. Alvarez made the claim even as the MRS will be funded with a loan from the Chinese government.
RDR said credit should go to President Rodrigo Duterte and his “Build, Build, Build” program of infrastructures.
President Duterte is the original proponent of the Mindanao Railway System, said RDR.
The project was first proposed in 1988 during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino and was backed by the Davao Regional Development Council (RDC) chaired by industrialist Jesus “Chito” V. Ayala, according to RDR.
Then, the late Ayala was the economic adviser of Duterte, who was serving his first term as mayor.
President Duterte was the original proponent of the Mindanao Railway, said RDR on Friday, December 8, in the radio program Kontra Balanse of broadcast journalist Al Genoguin in Davao City-based radio station DXOW.
According to RDR, the MRS concept of the RDC was initially a railway line from the Davao Region to Cagayan de Oro through Butuan City.
The MRS was proposed as a major project of the Davao Integrated Development Plan (DIDP), a special body that crafted development plans for the Davao Region chaired by Duterte.
RDR said he provided muscle to the project with a House resolution supporting the MRS when he was the DavNor First District representative during the administration of President Ramos.
I am happy that the MRS has now been realized under President Duterte, said RDR.
The MRS, with its initial segment (Tagum City-Davao City-Digos City) scheduled to be started in 2019, has become a hot political issue in Davao del Norte, with Alvarez claiming credit for the mega-million peso project.
Alvarez, ousted as Speaker in July in a coup and replaced by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is seeking reelection in the 2019 mid-term election against the challenge of Governor Anthony del Rosario, RDR’s son.
The camp of the former Speaker claims that the Davao region segment of the MRS was funded in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2018 through the effort of Alvarez, even as it will get funds from Chinese government as part of President Duterte’s major projects under his “Build, Build, Build” program.