MCRP rams through the right of domicile


The Duterte regime is railroading the construction of the anti-people Malolos-Clark Railway Project (MCRP) which is set to displace approximately 1,416 families in Pampanga, Tarlac and Bulacan. The project will be funded using a $2.75-billion (₱137.5 billion) loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Asian Development Bank. Over the past 12 months, Sec. Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) also railroaded the approval of five big contracts worth $2.4 billion (₱120 billion) for the construction of the project despite the grave economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The MCRP is part of the massive North-South Commuter Railway Project, one of the flagship infrastructure projects under Duterte regime’s ambitious Build, Build, Build program. This purportedly aims to connect the railway system in the national capital to Central Luzon, and shorten the travel time from Bulacan to Clark, Pampanga. The project will encompass and grab approximately 455,000 hectares of residential, agricultural and commercial lands across Malolos, Calumpit and Apalit in Bulacan; Minalin, Sto. Tomas, San Fernando, Angeles and Mabalacat in Pampanga; and Bamban and Capas in Tarlac. The railway will cover 59 barangays in three provinces, majority of which (40 barangay) are in Pampanga.

The largest area of land that will be grabbed and the biggest number of families that will be displaced are from San Fernando (167,000 hectares, 823 families), Calumpit (61,000 hectares, 328 families) and Angeles (60,000 hectares, 197 families). Majority of the families (1,173) that will be displaced are considered informal settlers and will only be extended measly compensation by the regime. They will only receive a one-time ₱15,000-financial aid according to the proposed rehabilitation program of the DOTr which has yet to materialize.

Nearly half (49%) of those who will be displaced have been residing in the affected areas for more than two decades, while a third have been residents for one up to ten years now. At least 1,089 structures will be demolished to pave way for the construction of the railway and train stations. Approximately 784 of these are houses, 199 and 97 are commercial and industrial infrastructures, respectively.

According to the DOTr’s own survey conducted before launching the program in 2018, many affected families raised apprehensions regarding the relocation program of the regime because most of the sites are far from their workplaces, markets, hospitals and schools, and will cause an increase in their spending. Many affected business owners also raised apprehensions over losing their regular clients, and the possibility that there will not be enough space to reestablish their businesses in relocation areas. There are also reports about the lack of access to water and electricity in some relocation areas.

MCRP rams through the right of domicile