Philippine National Railways (File photo)

MANILA – A party-list lawmaker on Tuesday said the passage of the new Public Service Act has paved the way for the eventual revival and operation of the Panay line under the Panay Railways Inc. (PRI).

In a statement, AAMBIS-Owa Party-list Representative Sharon Garin said many railway construction projects are currently underway that will benefit from new investments, such as the Panay Railways which has had no running rail since 1985, through the new law.

Garin said Republic Act 11659, or the New Public Service Act, will definitely improve the country's public services by allowing more investors to participate in previously "closed" industries.

"I am excited to see how the railway industry will be positively affected by Foreign Direct Investments (FDI)’” Garin said. "I am sure that very soon, we will have a modernized rail system running in our home province."

Garin said the revival of this mode of transport will surely create jobs and more opportunities in the area.

She also noted that underspending and lack of capital for maintenance and expansion have always been a problem with the country’s railway system.

She said the initial PHP299 billion estimated worth of new FDIs is sure to include funds for the modernization and expansion of the country’s railway system.

“I am excited that the rehabilitation of railways will extend to my home province. There have been many interested foreign investors in the rehabilitation and construction of better railways in Panay since a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between interested foreign companies and the PRI since 2018. This includes a two-phase project that would connect Iloilo City to Barangay Caticlan in Malay, Aklan," she said.

Garin said a good transport system can bring about better movement of goods and people.

"Rapid transit is not only a dream but is soon to be a reality. From subways to commuter rails up to provincial stations, I am confident that this chain of improvement will ultimately lead to better services for our people,” Garin said. (PNA)