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[Act No. 2769, (1918-03-05)](
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[ Act No. 2769, March 05, 1918 ]


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Legislature assembled and by the authority of the same:

SECTION 1. Vicente Lopez, a resident of the city of Iloilo, Philippine Islands, is hereby granted the necessary authorization to locate, construct, equip, maintain, and operate, subject to the terms and conditions hereinafter set out, during a period of ninety-nine years from and after the approval of this Act, railroad lines of a gauge of not less than seventy-five centimeters, on the Island of Negros, in the Province of Occidental Negros, Philippine Islands, along routes to be determined by the grantee, between the pueblo of Victorias, in the said municipality of Victorias, on the northeast coast of said Island, and the pueblo of Himamaylan, in the municipality of Himamaylan, on the west coast of said Island, an approximate distance of two hundred kilometers, as well as such branches as the grantee may consider necessary: Provided, however, That this franchise shall not take effect until the grantee shall have obtained from the Public Utility Commission a certificate showing the public necessity and convenience of the same, in accordance with the purpose of section twenty-three of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven, as amended, and shall have filed such certificate with the Secretary of Commerce and Communications upon accepting this franchise: And provided, further, That if the grantee does not file the proper application for said certificate with the Public Utility Commission within three months from the date of the approval of this Act, this franchise shall become null and void.

SEC. 2. The concession of the privilege mentioned in the preceding section shall not take effect unless the grantee shall accept in writing and make part of this concession the following condition, to wit:
"That the grantee state in writing that he is informed of the message of the President of the United States addressed to the Filipino people and communicated to said people by the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands on the sixth day of October, nineteen hundred and thirteen, and of the reply message of the Philippine Assembly made in the name of the Filipino people and approved and sent on October sixteenth, nineteen hundred and thirteen; that said grantee binds himself not to engage in or aid, by means of contributions in cash or otherwise, any propaganda directed against the policy of the Government of the United States outlined in such message of the President and the aspirations of the Filipino people set forth in said reply message of the Philippine Assembly, whether under the pretext of vested interests or under any other pretext, and that said grantee shall further bind himself to exact a similar engagement from his administrators, agents, successors,  and assigns."
SEC. 3. The grantee shall have the right to construct and maintain for the operation of said railroads any and all tracks (single, double, or more), switches, side tracks, spurs, bridges, viaducts, culverts, fences, and other structures ; and all depots, station houses, engine houses, car houses, freight houses, wood houses, and other buildings; and all machine shops and other shops, water tanks, turntables, superstructures, erections, and fixtures; and all elevators, warehouses, wharves, piers, and such other facilities at the terminals as may be necessary for operating said railroads, and also any hotels or restaurants at any station or terminal.

SEC. 4. Under and by virtue hereof the right of way through the public lands of the Philippine Government is hereby given and granted to the grantee for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the railroads herein authorized, to the extent of thirty meters for single track lines and to the extent indispensable for double track lines, and for depots, machine shops, station buildings, workshops, water stations, warehouses, terminals, including wharves, switches, side tracks, and turntables, and other works and structures hereby authorized, and also such extra lands beyond such thirty meters as may be indispensable for said purposes; and the grantee shall have the right, power, and authority, with the approval of the" Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and subject to the conditions imposed by the same, to work and open, in accordance with law, quarries and gravel pits upon any public lands, and take from such lands earth, stone, timber, and other materials for the construction of such railroads or other works herein authorized.

SEC. 5. The grantee shall have the right, with the approval of the Governor-General, to cross or occupy such e parts of public roads, alleys, and streets, 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. Lands or rights of use and occupation of lands granted under the foregoing provisions of this section shall revert to the governments by which they were respectively granted upon the termination of this franchise or concession, or upon its revocation or repeal.

SEC. 6. The grantee shall also have the right to acquire from public or private corporations, or private individuals, by purchase, lease, grant, or donation, any lands which may be necessary for the construction, maintenance, and operation of the said railroads or for any other works incidental to the exercise of the powers conferred by this franchise.

SEC. 7. The grantee may acquire by condemnation any lands or other property or rights necessary for the right of way, bridges, terminals, sidings, stations, engine houses, water stations, and other appropriate buildings and structures as herein authorized, for the proper and convenient construction, operation, and maintenance of the lines of railroad herein authorized; but no lands within the boundaries of any province, city, town, or municipality shall be acquired by the grantee if the same are in actual use for governmental, provincial, or municipal purposes. The right of condemnation or eminent domain shall be exercised by the grantee in accordance with the laws of the Philippine Islands at the time being in force.

SEC. 8. The grantee shall have the right to construct and operate telegraph, telephone, and electrical transmission lines over the right of way of said lines for use in the construction and operation of said railroads.

SEC. 9. All materials imported into the Philippine Islands from the United States or foreign countries for the construction or equipment of said railroads which shall really and actually be used for such construction and equipment, shall be admitted free of duty. In no case shall such imported materials be sold or used for purposes other than the construction and equipment of said railroads, unless the Secretary of Finance shall be convinced that they have ceased to be necessary for such construction and equipment and that the customs duties on such materials have thereupon been duly paid.

SEC. 10. All material used 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. The track of the railways shall be of the gauge of at least seventy-five centimeters. The bridges, culverts, and buildings shall be of masonry and steel, but with the authorization of the Secretary of Commerce and Communications, provisional structures of wood may be erected.

SEC. 11. Before commencing with the construction of any section of said railroads, the grantee shall file with the Director of Public Works three copies of the plan and cross section thereof of the project and its construction, accompanied by three copies of the descriptive report. Upon receipt of the same, the Director of Public Works shall examine them without delay and remit them thereafter with his report to the Public Utility Commission, which shall submit them, with its recommendation, to the Secretary of Commerce and Communications, for his approval. Upon the approval of the plans, two of the three copies thereof and of the descriptive report shall be filed in the proper office of the Government and the other shall be delivered to the grantee. The maximum grade of the construction shall be two per centum and the minimum curve shall have a radius of two hundred meters.

SEC. 12. Before opening all or part of said railroad lines to the public service, the grantee shall notify the Director of Public Works in writing that said lines, or part thereof which he proposes to inaugurate are ready for the transportation of passengers and freight. Upon receiving such notice, the Director of Public Works shall order an immediate inspection to be made of said lines, or the part thereof which it is proposed to open, and of the engines and rolling stock to be used, and if he finds everything in accordance with the law, he shall so report to the Public Utility Commission, recommending that the opening of said lines or the part thereof duly completed and fit for traffic be authorized, and the Commission shall take such action as it may in its discretion deem proper.

SEC. 13. Before opening any section of said railroad lines to the transportation of passengers and freight, the grantee shall submit for approval by the Public Utility Commission the regulations for the operation of said lines. These regulations upon approval by said Commission shall have the force of law, but shall be subject to such amendments as practice may counsel and said Commission authorize or direct.

SEC. 14. The freight and passenger rates on said lines shall be subject to regulation by the Public Utility Commission, in accordance with the provisions of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven of the Philippine Legislature, as amended. Copies of the schedules of rates shall be posted in conspicuous places in the stations.

SEC. 15. The grantee shall have the right to refuse to accept perishable goods for transportation unless the freight charges thereon are paid in advance.

SEC. 16. The grantee shall have and maintain his domicile and principal office at all times in the Philippine Islands.

SEC. 17. The grantee may refuse to accept for transportation goods of a dangerous character.

SEC. 18. Said railroads shall be constructed and operated primarily for the transportation of the natural products of the region which they serve, and, in so far as possible, for the transportation of passengers; but, in any case, the traffic on the same shall be subject to reasonable regulation by the grantee, with the previous approval of the Public Utility Commission.

SEC. 19. The grantee shall keep a record of all receipts for passengers and freight of the railroads, which shall be subject to inspection by the Insular Auditor.

SEC. 20. The grantee shall enjoy all the rights, powers, privileges, and exemptions guaranteed by, and be subject to all the duties and restrictions imposed in, sections eighty-one, eighty-three, eighty-four, eighty-six, eighty-eight, eighty-nine, ninety, ninety-one, ninety-two, ninety-three, ninety-four, ninety-five, ninety-six, one hundred, one hundred and one, and one hundred and two, as amended, of Act Numbered Fourteen hundred and fifty-nine of the Philippine Commission.

SEC. 21. 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 Secretary of Commerce and Communications 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. 22. Any provisions of this Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the words "personal baggage" shall not be construed to include merchandise, fish, poultry, or animals, for the transportation of which the proper freight may be charged in each case.

SEC. 23. It shall be the duty of the grantee to issue receipts for the merchandise and articles billed.

SEC. 24. In consideration of the granting of this franchise, the grantee shall pay annually to the Government of the Philippine Islands one-half of one per centum of the gross receipts from the passenger and freight traffic on said railroad lines for the first thirty years, and after this period and for fifty years thereafter, one and one-half per centum, and after such period of eighty years the percentage and amount so to be paid annually by the grantee shall be fixed by the Legislature.

Such annual payments, when promptly and fully made by the grantee, shall be in lieu of all taxes of every name and nature—municipal, provincial, or Insular—upon its capital stock, franchises, right of way, earnings, and all other property owned or operated by the grantee under this concession.

SEC. 25. The concession of this franchise shall be subject in all respects to the limitations imposed upon corporations and franchises by the Act of the Congress of the United States of America approved August twenty-ninth, nineteen hundred and sixteen, entitled "An Act to declare the purpose of the people of the United States as to the future political status of the people of the Philippine Islands, and to provide a more autonomous government for those Islands," and to the provisions of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven of the Philippine Legislature, as amended.

SEC. 26. Within sixty days after the acceptance 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, in accordance with the approximate distance mentioned in section one hereof. This deposit shall be returned in proportion as the work is completed in sections of not less than twenty kilometers.

SEC. 27. Any person or persons who shall voluntarily or maliciously destroy, damage, or tamper with any of said railroad lines, machinery, buildings, or other property of the grantee, or shall voluntarily or maliciously execute any act detrimental to the operation of said railroad lines, shall, upon conviction by a competent court, be fined in a sum not to exceed five thousand pesos, or imprisoned for a period not to exceed two years, or suffer both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. The offended party shall be entitled to recover all damages in a separate civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction.

SEC. 28. All mortages or trust deeds executed by the corporation or corporations who may become the successor or successors of the grantee hereunder, on the property, or part of the property, of such corporation or corporations, for the purpose of securing the bonds or stock issued, shall be filed for record in the division of archives, patents, copyrights, trade-marks, and corporations of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, in the manner and under the conditions prescribed in Act Numbered Twenty-two hundred and forty-three, providing for the record of mortgages or trust deeds issued by public service corporations to secure bonds, and for other purposes.

SEC. 29. In case the construction of the railroad lines mentioned in section one of this Act is not begun within two years from the acceptance of this franchise, or in case, if such construction is begun within said period, it is not completed within five years from the date of said acceptance, this franchise shall be annulled, unless the grantee has been prevented by the act of God, disturbance of the order or force majeure, usurped or military power, martial law, riot, or civil commotion; but the annulment in case the construction has been begun within said period of two years, but not completed within the five years mentioned, shall affect only the part of said lines not constructed, so that this franchise shall continue in full force and effect with respect to the part of the said lines the construction whereof has been completed within said period of five years. In case of the annulment of this franchise with respect to any part of said lines, as herein before set forth, the deposit prescribed in section twenty-six of this Act shall be forfeited to the Government of the Philippine Islands, in proportion to the uncompleted part of the railroads, as provided in this section. The Secretary of Commerce and Communications, upon recommendation by the Public Utility Commission, made after hearing the grantee, his successors, or assigns, shall be empowered to declare, with the approval of the Governor-General, the annulment of this franchise and the forfeiture of the deposit, in accordance with the provisions of this section, and upon this declaration, the grantee, his successors or assigns shall be entitled to appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction for such remedy as they may see fit; but if they should fail to do so within two months from the date on which such declaration was made with the approval of the Governor-General, they shall be deemed to have waived said right and the annulment and forfeiture so declared shall thereupon become final.

SEC. 30. If, upon the construction of at least forty kilometers of said railroad lines, the Secretary of Finance shall find that there has been such an increment of traffic as to warrant the opening of a new port of entry at a suitable place near said lines, he shall so recommend to the Legislature, and in case of such recommendation being approved, the Secretary of Commerce and Communications may authorize the improvement of such port, making the same convenient and safe for the anchorage and loading of vessels carrying cargo to and from foreign countries.

SEC. 31. Whenever and wherever the word "grantee" is used in this Act, it shall mean and be construed to refer to Vicente Lopez, his representatives, successors, or assigns, and whenever and wherever the word "concession" is used in this Act, it shall mean and be construed to mean franchise.

SEC. 32. Any corporation or corporations which may become the successor or successors of the grantee hereunder shall enjoy, in addition to the rights, powers, benefits, and privileges above set forth, all the rights, powers, benefits, and privileges conferred in chapter one of Act Numbered Fourteen hundred and fifty-nine of the Philippine Commission, as amended.

SEC. 33. The words "railroad lines," wherever used herein, shall be understood to mean any part or section of any of the lines or their branches mentioned in section one of this Act.

SEC. 34. The franchise granted herein shall not take effect unless within a period of four months from the date of obtaining the certificate required in section one of this Act, the grantee shall file with the Secretary of Commerce and Communications, together with said certificate, his written acceptance of this franchise and all the conditions thereof, and of such additional conditions as said Secretary may impose, in the interest of the public service.

SEC. 35. This Act shall take effect on its approval.

Approved, March 5, 1918.