Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the North-South Commuter Railway System Contract Signing Ceremony

Speeches 3 March 2023

[Please take your seats]

Thank you Transportation Secretary Jimmy Bautista; the other Cabinet members here present today; House Speaker Martin Romualdez; the French Ambassador to the Philippines, Her Excellency Michèle Boccoz; Economic Minister Nihei Daisuke of the Embassy of Japan. I told him his Tagalog is getting better and better every time he makes a speech; the Japan International Cooperation Agency Chief Representative Takema Sakamoto; fellow workers in government; ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I am of course delighted to join this event for the signing of the North-South Commuter Railway System’s Contract Package NS-01. It is a landmark initiative that will make our country more connected than ever.

These endeavors will mark a new era of prosperity for the Philippines at a time when we are navigating ourselves in what has become called the New Normal.

Indeed, this is a milestone towards the realization of the full North-South Commuter Railway line, which will significantly reduce the travel time between Clark International Airport and Calamba City, Laguna, once completed.

I certainly commend the efforts of the men and women of the Department of Transportation for this major undertaking.

Indeed, this service that you have shown in materializing our grand vision [of] a Philippines [that] is ready to take on the future, is a very important part of the transformation of our economy.

I certainly have — must thank the Government of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the financial support in the implementation of CP NS-01 and for being active partners in the country’s infrastructure development.

We are glad to have you with us as we continue to strengthen our relations built on mutual confidence and cooperation, a relationship that has gone on for many, many decades and I can say without fear of contradiction that the development of the Philippines, especially in terms of infrastructure has shown that Japan has taken a very, very important part in that.

JICA, of course, as the leading agency of the Japanese government, but certainly from the initiative of the Japanese government.

Japan serves as a key inspiration for the Philippines for having an efficient rail transport system. I was joking Mr. Sakamoto earlier and I said, now that we have this, maybe the next one is Shinkansen already, we can have in the Philippines.

So I thank Mitsubishi Corporation for working with the Philippine government on Contract Package NS-01.

It’s my hope that the DOTr and Mitsubishi Corporation will not waver in their commitment to finish the contract package by 2028.

On behalf of the Filipino people, we thank you for your unwavering support to the aspirations of our countrymen.

As we sign this contract package, we do not only write a new chapter in realizing important infrastructure projects that will foster growth and revitalize the economy.

With it, we also fulfill a promise to achieve our shared dreams and aspirations that will be the foundation of a more comfortable, a more dignified life for every Filipino.

Beyond improving our transportation system, the implementation of civil works for the CP NS-01 will also generate thousands of jobs for Filipinos during construction.

Ladies and gentlemen, we recognize the fact that an efficient transportation system will have a multiplier effect on employment and on the economy.

Furthermore, it will strengthen what we have seen our weaknesses in the supply chain, that have been brought about by the pandemic economy, that have been brought about by the crisis in Ukraine and that we now must attend to if we are going to be able to say that we will grow the economy, that we will make it stronger, we will make it more sustainable, and we will make it more effective at improving the lives of our countrymen.

So, truly, we cannot fall short on this aspect.

So, I assure the Filipino people that the government will strive to modernize and improve the country’s transportation system.

This will be one of the cornerstones of our progress as we move full speed ahead into a brighter tomorrow.

So, let us work together, in unity, in cooperation, so that we can all build a future filled with opportunities, where all Filipinos can thrive and realize their dreams for themselves, for their families, and for their country.

Mabuhay po kayong lahat! Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. Marami pong salamat. [applause]

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