SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
House Assistant Majority Leader and Davao City Congressman Karlo Alexei Nograles today lauded President Aquino for his full support for an increased nautical linkages among ASEAN (Association of
Southeast Asian Nations) following the model of the county's initial establishment of inter-island nautical "superhighways" through the RORO (Roll on, Roll off) project.
"If we link our major islands in the ASEAN Region together with more socio-economic oriented linkages or missionary ports, perhaps freight costs of Mindanao produce like corn will not be triple the price of imported USA corn. It's great to hear that the President is supportive of projects that link even the smallest island communities," Nograles said as he noted that one way of solving Mindanao's insurgency and terrorism woes is to increase economic opportunities for its people.
And coupled with an extensive mass transport system such as the proposed Mindanao Railway project, Mindanao will definitely soar quickly as the country's primary engine for national development.
"More roll on roll ports encourage entrepreneurship all over the countryside as farming communities see better incomes; tourism opportunities become widespread or not limited to just Boracay, Cebu
or Mindoro and more importantly isolated island communities which abound in Mindanao are mainstreamed to basic government services through these gateways of development. Question is are we prepared to adapt to globally current and relatively inexpensive technologies in
port development as used by emerging economies like Ecuador, Slovenia and the like," Nograles said.
Meanwhile, Nograles said the establishment of an extensive railway system and massive network of nautical highways in Mindanao will not only spur the development of the region that have been left behind because of terrorism and insurgency but it would also provide cultural and educational linkages among Mindanao communities.
"Religious and cultural disagreement is also a major cause of conflict in Mindanao and if we can increase interaction among different communities in the region, I think that we can ultimately
promote harmony among them despite the diversity in their religious and cultural beliefs," Nograles noted.
Nograles noted that the Mindanao Railway is already in the advanced stage of its feasibility study and the state-run Saudi Fund for Development has expressed interest in providing as much as $1.3 billion in cheap financing to fund the project.
The planned Mindanao railway is made up of a network of lines linking Cagayan de Oro to Iligan, Iligan to Zamboanga City, and Cagayan de Oro to Agusan and Surigao, as well as extensions to the cities of Davao and General Santos.