• JV: Railways as growth engine low govt priority

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    THE Philippines is one of the first countries in Asia to have a reliable railway system but because of lack of support from the government the country is lagging behind its neighbors in terms of having efficient, safe, fast and modern trains, according to Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito.

    In a recent privileged speech, Ejercito blamed lack of interest of the Aquino administration to invest more in mass transportation particularly in an integrated railway system that could help spur progress.

    He said while importance of having an efficient, cost-effective and safe railway system has been proven in other countries, the Philippine government continues to make it the least of its priorities as shown by the 2015 national budget, where P11 billion requested by the Philippine National Railways (PNR) from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was chopped down to P2.2 billion.

    “It’s about time that we address our weakness in public infrastructure. This is probably one of the reasons why our economy has not fully taken off inspite of improvement of ratings and good perception toward the Philippines,” Ejercito added.

    He said the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd cannot use as reason lack of available budget for rehabilitation of the PNR because recent reports disclosed that the government’s underspending has left it with P267 billion, which, the senator added, is enough to modernize the country’s railway system.

    Ejercito noted that lack of quality infrastructure is the reason why the country still suffers from low foreign direct investment compared to its neighbors, notwithstanding supposed economic gains being touted by the Aquino administration.

    He said the Philippines ranks second in Southeast Asia for having poor quality infrastructure.

    “I firmly believe that an efficient, reliable, cost-effective, environment-friendly and modern railway system can be the catalyst for growth that can stimulate development in our urban centers and the countryside,” Ejercito added.

    In pushing for the PNR’s modernization, he cited eight reasons why the government should start giving priority to the establishment of a modernized railway system, including attracting more foreign direct investment and increasing agricultural productivity.

    The senator said having a reliable train system would also create jobs for Filipinos; lead to lower cost of living not only in Metro Manila but also in other urban centers; reduce port congestion; lessen congestion in Metro Manila and other key regions; ease over-concentration of jobs and livelihood in Metro Manila; and help spread out development all over the country.

    Ejercito pointed out that with the poor condition of the existing light rail transit systems, the government should tap existing transportation infrastructure such as the PNR in order to provide the public a safe, reliable and cost-effective train system.

    Compared to the existing public transport systems in Asia, the PNR offers the cheapest fare as it only charges passengers P25 from Tutuban in Manila to Alabang in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila) and P40 from Manila to Cabuyao, Laguna.

    “Our countrymen deserve a better quality of life. And we the servants of our people, can provide this by taking huge and necessary steps toward progress and development,” Ejercito said in his privileged speech.

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    4 Comments

    1. sinasadya nitong presidenteng ito ang ganitong sistema ng ating transportation dahil malulugi daw iyong may mga kaibigan nila na mayroon bus company na bumibiyahe sa luzon. bakit hindi ba nila iniiisip na dumarami ang population ng pilipinas at kailangan natin ang good means of transportation.. di bale sila may mga kotse na magaganda na kahit anong oras masasakyan nila may aircon pa…Sinasadya talaga nitong abnormal na presidente?? na pahirapan ang mga pilipino??

    2. William Tubig Dungo on

      This is the worst thing the Pilipino citizen received from this matuwid na daan PESIDENT AQUINO na walling gnaw kung hindi pahirapri an dukhang mamamayang PILIPINO. Si PREsident AbNoY kinalsel niya iyong project ni GLORIA PNR train rehabilitation prom central luzon Bulacan to Manila, sa dahilang corrupt daw 600 million dollar. Now people depend on this train just paying chief fare have no means of transportation. The old system the rile are being stolen. Pagkatapos ininbistiga pa sa send. Nagoya WALANG GANAP NA RILES AT TREN SA DAHILANG KATAAGLAN NANG NAMUMUNO NGAYON. BUONG SCHOOL BUDGET NANG MGA ESTUDYANTE AY NAPUPUNTA LANG SA PAMASAHE. THE LAMESA DAMM reclamation contract was cancelled too because Pres Abnoy calcelled the project which gloria approved before she depart. then calamities came in a lot of places flooded and people died multi billion and billions and billions pesos property destroyed txk you

    3. Government officials will never let PNR to be upgraded, coz they worried their own private bus companies will suffer…

    4. This country’s government is so so busy in the business of making public service the way to their rich fortune