House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has proposed a plan to put up a railway system in mainland Palawan to improve the province’s infrastructure and boost its tourism potential.
Alvarez raised the plan during the oath-taking ceremony of some 200 local officials who have joined the administration PDP-Laban Party on Wednesday. He promised to endorse the proposal to the national government for possible official development assistance (ODA) support from foreign governments.
“Imumungkahi ko po iyon. Sa tingin ko dapat magkaroon dahil sa kahabaan ng Palawan, from end-to-end. Talagang napakahaba at mas maganda kung may railway system,” Alvarez said.
Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez noted that while the idea was not included in the province’s long-term strategic plan, they will support the Speaker’s proposal.
“It’s okay with me. But of course we need to plan for it,” Alvarez said.
“Iku-konsulta natin iyon sa eksperto. Meron namang mga consultants iyan,” he said.
The Palawan governor said if the plan will materialize, the province will need additional labor and skilled manpower to build the railway.
“Magdagdag tayo ng tao,” he said, noting that the province’s population is just over 1 million.
“Yung one million gawin nating two million. ‘Yung mga squatter sa Manila na may skills, palipatin natin dito. Kulang tayo sa tao dito, mga mason, electrician, and the likes,” he said.
Provincial Information Officer Atty. Gil Acosta Jr. said the House speaker made the proposal to Governor Alvarez on the premise that the national government is pushing local leaderships to improve tourism through infrastructure development.
“What he (Speaker Alvarez) said is that in Palawan, there should be more infrastructure projects for tourism, like hospitals, airports, RORO ports, roads – all of these we already have in the province,” Acosta said.
The provincial government initially estimated that the planned railway will traverse aroud 540 kilometers from El Nido in the north to Bataraza in the southernmost tip of the province.