THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DoTr) is set to sign on Nov. 28 the memorandum of agreement (MoA) with local government units (LGUs) for the release of about P5.6 billion that will be used in the acquisition of real estate properties along the route of the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) phase 1. Engineer Arturo B. Manigo, Tagum City Planning and Development coordinator, said the LGUs signatories would be the cities of Tagum, Panabo, Davao, and Digos, and the municipality of Carmen. “Through this MoA, DoTr will download the funds for the LGUs in acquiring areas where the railway will be traversing,” Mr. Manigo said. The fund will cover payment to property owners, administrative cost, and transfer of titles. Most of the affected areas are classified as agricultural land. For affected residents in Tagum City, a resettlement area has been identified in barangay Mankilam. Tagum will be the site of the MRS’s 10-hectare main depot. The MRS phase 1, estimated to cost P85 billion, covers the Digos-Davao-Tagum segment with eight stations. — Maya M. Padillo