City mayor hopeful on proposed LTR in Panay Island

ILOILO CITY, July 14 (PNA) — Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is optimistic that his request for a feasibility study for the proposed Light Railway Transport (LRT) in Panay Island will be acted upon soon by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

This, after Mabilog sought the help of DOTC in conducting a feasibility study on the said proposal as advised by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in response to the letter sent to them by the mayor last July 7.

“We aim that Panay Island particularly from Iloilo City to Boracay Island in Kalibo, Aklan will be accessible to everyone especially to our tourist passengers,” he said.

Mabilog added the LRT system will help boost the local tourism industry of the entire island and once completed, the travel time from Iloilo City to Aklan province will be shortened and will take only two hours, unlike the present six hours.

“This is just a proposal. If it is feasible, we will look for a possible investor who could invest for this project. I am sure there will be more investors who will take interest with this”, he said.

Meanwhile, the new proposed LTR project is different from the proposed rehabilitation of Panay Railway Incorporated (PRI) five years ago, as confirmed by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) assistant director Atty. Raul Anlocotan.

In fact, the feasibility study reviving the 117 kilometers length of Panay Railway System from Iloilo to Roxas City which cost around P32 billion was already approved by the Regional Development Council (RDC).

Anlocotan said the project was not yet implemented because there was no interested investor.

On his part, PRI-Iloilo director Cesar Capellan said they are still waiting for positive feedback from the Korean investors to submit their project plan which will indicate that they are willing to invest for the said project.

Capellan, however, said they are willing to enter into a Private Public Partnership (PPP) with the interested investor just to materialize the proposal.

As proposed, the railway will be elevated from Iloilo City particularly along Loboc area going to Iloilo Airport in the towns of Sta. Barbara-Cabatuan, Iloilo.

Capellan added the LRT will pass through its old main railway from Sta. Barbara to Lawaan, Roxas City and vice versa.

Capellan said there will be five LRTs and 17 stop stations that will cater regular, express and night cargo passengers of the neighboring towns of Iloilo and Roxas City.

He added transport fare will be P1.50 per kilometer which is very affordable to everyone. (PNA)