Senator Richard Gordon urged the Duterte administration to pour in more funds for the construction of new railroad systems and rehabilitation of existing railways to help usher in further economic growth and development.
At the preliminary budget hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance, Gordon noticed the lack of appropriation to finance the creation of railroads under the proposed P3.35-trillion 2017 budget even after the government’s commitment to start construction of the Mindanao Railway system.
“If you build that railway in Mindanao, and that is one of our bills here, and you restore the existing railroads, you can pump-prime the economy and correlate it with the jobs it will create. I don’t see that kind of budget support that we need to really ratchet up our industrial development,” Gordon said.
“But if you put in more money and so long as you can start these programs right away, I think there will be a sunrise for all sectors, like construction, engineering, transportation, new investments in new areas, employment and livelihood growth, property development, and more revenue for local government units,” he stressed.
The senator pointed out that railroads would facilitate the movement of goods and thus, ratchet up the country’s economic progress because all the areas that trains will pass through would be able to ship their goods faster and more efficiently.
“Aside from providing cost-efficient and speedy means of travel for people, trains also facilitate trade and commerce through the transport of cargo and agricultural products, promoting tourism, providing jobs, and relieving traffic, among others,” Gordon said.
He pointed out efficient trains and railways contributed largely to the economic development of countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Korea and others.
“In America, the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 made possible a six-day trip from New York to San Francisco, helped shape the landscape and geography, brought thousands of westward-bound immigrants to the American West and opened new townships,” he said. (HANNAH TORREGOZA)