Recognizing the importance of transportation infrastructure as a crucial element to boost economic productivity among regions, Sen. Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure to rehabilitate and revitalize the operations of Philippine National Railways (PNR).
De Lima, who hails from Iriga City, Camarines Sur, filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 370 to amend the existing laws that cover the operations of the PNR, which shall give the state-owned railway company bigger fiscal space for its much-needed rehabilitation.
“The PNR is an indispensable element to infrastructure connectivity. Its rehabilitation will impact not only the daily lives of Filipino commuters but also the whole country,” she said.
“Unfortunately, efforts to rehabilitate its operations have often been marred with either man-made or natural disaster. In this age of modernity, it seems the Philippines is being left behind by its neighboring countries in terms of railway system,” she added.
At present, the PNR only operates three segments: from Tutuban, Manila to Calamba, Laguna; Naga, Camarines Sur to Legazpi, Albay; and Sipocot to Naga which are both in Camarines Sur. Once the train line has been fully restored, the train route will run from Manila to Legazpi City.
The neophyte senator said her bill proposes an increase of the PNR’s authorized capital stock from P250 million to P100 billion, thereby giving it enough fresh capital outlay to strengthen its assets.
“By increasing the authorized capital stock, the PNR shall have enough fiscal space to roll out its rehabilitation program. The PNR needs all the funds it can obtain for its rehabilitation,” she explained.
De Lima also said the rehabilitation of the PNR’s system will significantly contribute to the government’s efforts to strengthen the transportation system in Metro Manila as well as in northern Luzon.
“The completion of the rehabilitation efforts will allow direct linkages to the southern Luzon at a fraction of the time. Eventually, it will also allow farmers to sell their goods to the cities with lesser overhead costs,” she noted.
“President Duterte himself mentioned of the planned roll-out of railway projects all over the country. I am confident that as a former local chief executive, he knows the importance of modern transport system in revitalizing economic activities in the regions,” she said.