Governor seeks Antique’s inclusion in Panay Railway

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao is pushing for the inclusion of the province in the revival of the 117-kilometer Panay Railway System Project to reduce travel time for commuters and foster economic progress.

“With the railway project in the province, our goods can now be easily moved from one place to another. The transportation of people will be more convenient. If there will be a train, the travel time will be reduced by one and a half hours,” Cadiao told Daily Guardian on Monday, July 1.

“The railway is very important because if we want a place to grow, it needs to be accessible by land, air, and sea,” she added.

Cadiao also raised the same proposal during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s visit to the province on June 27.

Marcos was in Antique to distribute financial assistance under the Presidential Assistance to Farmers and Fisherfolk.

The governor noted that Antique is a long stretch of about 150 kilometers from north to south. The journey across the 17 towns of the province requires commuters to endure at least four hours of land travel.

Besides reduced travel time, she highlighted that farmers and fisherfolk would have seamless transport for their products, such as rice, corn, muscovado, and fish.

A railway station would also attract more businesses to the province, she added.

Cadiao emphasized that other provinces would benefit if Antique were included in the project, especially Aklan, as the town of Libertad serves as the gateway to the world-renowned Boracay Island.

The governor said she previously raised the same proposal during her tenure as chairperson of the Regional Development Council of Western Visayas (RDC-6) under the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We were the ones who opened this up together with the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges. When another administration came, Antique was excluded from the Panay Railway System Project. Why would we call it ‘Panay Railway’ if we are not part of it?” she said.

Cadiao shared that she was informed the proposal would be discussed again in the second phase of the project.

“It will take 5 to 10 years, but at least, it is already being considered,” she added.

The Panay Railway System Project aims to revive the former Panay Railway Inc., which featured a 117-kilometer railway line with 19 permanent and 10 flag stations.

The proposed Phase 1 of the project reportedly stretches from Iloilo City in Iloilo province to Roxas City, Capiz, with Phase 2 potentially extending the line to Caticlan in Aklan province.

On May 10, the Department of Transportation posted the Request for Expression of Interest and the Philippine Bidding Documents for a P78-million bid for a one-year feasibility study on the project.

“Since the last feasibility study made about the Panay Railway System was in 2009, which was over 14 years ago, the purpose of the project is to conduct an updated feasibility study,” read part of the terms of reference for the project.

The railway project for Western Visayas is part of the Infrastructure Flagship Projects under the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, prioritizing the expansion and establishment of passenger and freight railway lines.


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