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[Act No. 2643., (1916-02-24)](
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[ Act No. 2643., February 24, 1916 ]


By authority of the United States, be it enacted by the Philippine Legislature, that:

SECTION 1. A franchise is hereby granted to Ramon Fernandez, a citizen of the Philippine Islands and resident of the city of Manila, in his capacity as member of the Central Sugar Board, for conveyance to the sugar central established by said board in conformity with Act Numbered Twenty-four hundred and seventy-nine, to construct, equip, and operate subject to the terms and conditions hereinafter set forth, for a period of fifty years from and after the date of the passage of this Act, an agricultural railroad for the transportation of freight, in the Province of Occidental Negros, generally and approximately as hereinafter indicated, and subject to such variations, changes, and extensions of the main line and branches as the Governor-General may approve: from the municipality of Hinigaran to the municipality of Isabela, with extensions to the Panaquiao River and to the haciencK "Carmen," in the municipality of Isabela, on the Binalbagan River, in the municipality of Binalbagan, to the barrio of Soledad.

The grantee may, with the consent of the Governor-General, construct other branches to points of traffic within a reasonable distance from the main line.

SEC. 2. The length of the railroad shall be approximately sixty kilometers, exclusive of the branches, but inclusive of the extensions.

SEC. 3. The grantee may make in the route described such variations as a careful investigation of the locality may show to be necessary in order to avoid inundations and large cuts and fills, diminish curves, reduce grades, or feed the road.

SEC. 4. The maximum grade of the construction shall be two per centum and the minimum curve shall have a radius of two hundred meters. The grade on curves shall be compensated in such manner that the maximum grade on minimum radius curves shall not exceed one and six-tenths per centum.

SEC. 5. The grantee shall construct and maintain stations at Hinigaran, Isabela, Paticui, Bulad, Mampahubug, and Soledad, and in such other places as may be deemed necessary for an adequate public service.

SEC. 6. All material used in the construction of the line shall be of good quality and adapted to the conditions of the country. The rails shall be steel rails weighing fifteen kilograms per meter, with a resistance of three thousand five hundred kilos.  On each kilometer of track there shall be used at least twelve hundred ties of native hard wood, one meter and fifty centimeters long, seven inches wide and five inches thick.

SEC. 7. The railroad shall be single track, of seventy-five to ninety centimeter gauge, with the necessary sidings to allow of the trains passing each other at each station. The width of the fills and cuts shall be that required for the development of the track.

SEC. 8. The motive power of said railroad shall be steam; but with the consent of the Governor-General, any part of said railroad or of its extensions and branches may be operated by electricity or any other equivalent motive power.

SEC. 9. All materials used in the construction of buildings shall be of good class and quality. The roofing shall be of galvanized iron. The bridges and culverts shall be constructed of reinforced concrete or of masonry and steel.

SEC. 10. In harmony with and by virtue of this Act, and subject to the approval of the Governor-General, the grantee is hereby given the right of way through the public lands of the Philippine Government for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the railroad and its branches and extensions herein authorized, to the extent of thirty meters in width where it may pass through the public domain, including all necessary ground for depots, machine shops, station buildings, workshops, water stations, warehouses, terminals, including wharves and dock fronts, switches, sidetracks, and turntables, and also such extra lands beyond such thirty meters as may be found necessary for said purposes and be approved by the Governor-General: Provided, That the provisions of this paragraph shall only apply to public lands available for homestead settlement or for sale under the Public Land Act or to timber lands of the Philippine Government, and shall not apply to lands used and assigned for other public purposes.

The grantee shall have the right, with the approval of the Governor-General, to cross or occupy such parts of public roads, alleys, avenues, and squares, acquire title to such other municipal or provincial lands, as may be necessary, on terms to be agreed upon by the grantee and the proper provincial or municipal authorities, as the case may be; and in case of failure to agree upon the terms thereof, such terms shall be fixed by the Governor-General.

The grantee shall also have the right to acquire from corporations and other entities, by purchase, contract, lease, concession, or donation, the land necessary or useful for the construction, maintenance and operation of the railroad and its extensions and branches.

The grantee shall also have the right to acquire, by contract or expropriation, the land necessary for right of way, of thirty meters approximately, for bridges, terminals, wharves, docks, sidetracks, depots, warehouses, shops, platforms, turntables, switches, and other means suitable for the operation of the railroad, and may, in a like manner, acquire the land necessary for fills, cuts, and excavations, quarries, and all other land necessary for the deviation of watercourses, wagon roads, drainage of marshy land, dams, and other works necessary for the protection of the track from inundation: Provided, That the grantee shall not occupy any land within the limits of any province or municipality, if the same is actually used for provincial or municipal purposes, nor shall he occupy land within said limits without authorization by the proper authorities.

The right of eminent domain granted by this franchise shall be exercised by the grantee in conformity with the laws of the Philippine Islands in force at the time.

SEC. 11. The grantee shall have and enjoy, besides, the following powers, privileges, and exemptions:

(a) To convey or transfer this privilege to the central established by the Central Sugar Board.

(b) With the approval of the Governor-General, to open and work quarries and gravel pits upon any public lands and take from such lands earth, stone, timber, and other materials for the construction of such railway; but the provisions of this paragraph shall only apply to public lands available for homestead settlement or for sale under the Public Land Act, and shall not apply to lands used and assigned for other purposes.

(c) To appear in, petition for, initiate, prosecute, and abandon judicial or extrajudicial proceedings of any kind; to sue; to appoint and remove freely the employees and agents necessary for the operation, assigning to them such compensation as he may see fit.

(d) To acquire for the railroad by purchase, donation, or any method permitted by law, the title to or possession of land and other real and personal property, easements, or other property rights, and acquire, possess, lease, exchange, mortgage, pledge, sell, or dispose of the same entirely or in part, in accordance with law.

(e) To construct and alter, substitute, maintain, and operate the railroad; construct all buildings, stations, shops, fills, aqueducts, bridges, wharves, roads, thoroughfares, crossings, ditches, drains, pillars, arches, retaining walls, and fences on land of his own, and to cross any railroad, tramway, river, canal, creek, lake, shore, culvert, road, and public thoroughfare, upon obtaining the necessary authorization therefor from the public or private entities or persons whose rights may be affected.

(f) To open quarries, gather stones from the surface of the land, cut timber, excavate the ground for material, and construct and operate ovens for lime, gypsum, and bricks on land owned or leased for these purposes by the grantee.

(g) To conduct water to the railroad, for its use; to acquire the land and construct the roads necessary to facilitate access to the stations from the pueblos.

(h) To borrow money and contract the necessary indebtedness for the construction, completion, maintenance, and operation of the road and for other legal purpose; to issue or negotiate promissory notes, chits, bonds, or other documents representing value for any sum borrowed or indebtedness contracted, at a rate of interest of not less than four per centum nor more than eight, and to guarantee such indebtedness by mortgages, encumbering property already acquired, or capital actually invested at the time of contracting the indebtedness with said .securities. Twenty per centum of such bonds, notes, promissory notes, etc., shall be redeemed annually ten years after their'issue or prior thereto if the grantee deem it advisable.

(i) None of the personal or real property in use and necessary for the operation of the road shall be burdened with imposts and taxes by the province or municipality from the date of the franchise to that of the expiration thereof.

(j) In case of refusal, delay, or failure of the payment of the freight charges on merchandise, either for the entire distance or part thereof, the grantee may retain the said merchandise until payment is made. Such payment shall include all storage charges on merchandise left with the railroad for over forty-eight hours after arrival at its destination.

(k) To petition the justice of the peace of the district in which the station is located, for the sale at public auction of all articles, freight, merchandise, or baggage transported by the grantee and not claimed by the owner or consignee within a period of two months. In the cases hereinbefore set forth, or when the owner or consignee is not known or refuses to receive the articles transported, or if he refuses to pay the transportation expenses, the grantee may petition the justice of the peace for an order for the sale at public auction of perishable goods. The proceeds of the sale shall be applied primarily to the payment of the costs and expenses of such sale, and then to that of the account of the railroad for freight and expenses on said goods, and the remainder, if any, shall be deposited in the court at the disposal of the person entitled to claim it. The grantee shall have the right to refuse to accept perishable goods for transportation unless the freight charges thereon are paid in advance.

SEC. 12. It shall be the duty of the grantee, in order to prevent accidents, to place gates in charge of guards at the points where the railroad crosses much frequented public highways or roads.

SEC. 13. Along the entire right of way the grantee shall establish a telegraph line for the exclusive use of the railroad. The poles of this line may also carry such wires as the Government may deem necessary; but the maintenance and custody of the latter shall be at the expense of the Government.

SEC. 14. The grantee binds himself to provide on his trains a suitable and adequate place for the mails and shall carry them in the manner stipulated between the Director of Posts and the said grantee. In case of failure to arrive at an agreement, the Governor-General shall establish the manner in which said mails shall be carried, after hearing and considering the arguments of the said Director and grantee. Said mails shall be carried free of charge: Provided, That in case the Government requires, in addition to the ordinary mail service, the transportation of urgent mail or orders at other hours or a greater speed than those of the ordinary trains, or the transportation of troops, ammunition, funds, or freight, the grantee shall take the necessary steps to comply therewith and shall receive a reasonable compensation for such service.

SEC. 15. The grantee shall not hinder the crossing of his road by any other railroad or wagon road authorized by the Government, provided the same pays the proper indemnity and complies with the railroad police regulations.

SEC. 16. Each locomotive used in the operation of the road shall be equipped with a bell and a steam whistle. The bell shall be rung and the whistle blown at a distance of at least three hundred meters from each point where the railroad crosses any road and the ringing shall be continued until the locomotive has crossed such road. Each locomotive shall be provided with the necessary apparatus for preventing the sparks from setting fire to the property adjacent to the right of way.

SEC. 17. The velocity of the trains upon passing on streets of the pueblos or public thoroughfares where there are no bars shall not exceed thirty-two kilometers per hour.

SEC. 18. It shall be the duty of the grantee to issue receipts from a stub book for merchandise or articles booked, and to label such merchandise or article.

SEC. 19. It shall be the duty of the grantee to provide the personnel in his service with a special badge without which they shall not be allowed to perform any official duty or apply for assistance to the peace officers.

SEC. 20. The grantee may refuse to accept for transportation goods of a dangerous character or goods the transportation whereof is prohibited by the Government.

SEC. 21. The concession of this franchise shall be subject in all respects to the restrictions imposed upon corporations and franchises by the Act of Congress approved July first, nineteen hundred and two, entitled "An Act temporarily to provide for the administration of the affairs of the Civil Government in the Philippine Islands, and for other purposes," and to the provisions of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven of the Philippine Legislature and its amendments, any provisions hereof to the contrary notwithstanding.

SEC. 22. Within one hundred and twenty days from and after the transfer of the franchise granted by this Act, as hereinafter provided, the grantee shall deposit in the office of the Insular Treasurer at Manila a sum equal to fifty pesos Philippine currency per kilometer of the concession.  This deposit shall be returned in proportion as the work is completed in sections of not less than twenty kilometers.

"SEC. 23. The grantee or his successors shall pay into the Insular Treasury of the Islands, as compensation for the concession of this franchise, one-half of one per centum of the gross receipts from the freight traffic on this raifroad. This percentage shall be paid monthly and shall be in lieu of all privilege, profit, income, and franchise taxes, and the grantee is hereby declared exempt from all classes of taxes.

SEC. 24. The grantee shall keep a record of all receipts for freight of the railroad herein mentioned, which shall be subject to inspection by the authorities, who shall audit and approve the accounts and designate the sum due to the Government.

SEC. 25. This franchise or concession is granted subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress of the United States or by the Legislature of the Philippine Islands and subject to the provisions of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven, as amended by Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and sixty-two of the Philippine Legislature. No stock or bonds shall be issued by the grantee, his successors or assigns, hereunder, except in exchange for actual cash, or for property at a fair valuation equal to the par value of the stock or bonds so issued, and said grantee, his successors or assigns, shall not declare any stock or bond dividend. No private property shall be taken for any purpose under this franchise without just compensation paid or tendered therefor, and any authority to take and occupy land shall not authorize the taking, use or occupation of any land except such as is required for the actual necessary purposes for which this franchise is granted. All lands or rights of use and occupation of lands granted to the grantee, his successors or assigns, shall, upon the termination of this franchise or upon its revocation or repeal, revert to the Insular or the provincial or city government to which such lands or the right to use and occupy them belonged at the time the grant thereof or the right to use or occupy the same was conceded to the grantee, his successors or assigns.

SEC. 26. Whenever the word "grantee" is used in this Act, it shall be considered and understood as referring to Ramon Fernandez, his representatives, successors, or assigns.

SEC. 27. This Act shall take effect on its passage; but the franchise shall not be effective unless within sixty days after the said passage the grantee shall file with the Secretary of Commerce and Police his acceptance in due form, binding himself to comply with all the terms hereof.

Enacted, February 24, 1916.