Screenshot_20231110-001500_Chrome.jpgA row of Shinkansen trains in Japan (Wikipedia)






Why not design a Japanese-style bullet train for the Philippine National Railway's (PNR) South Long Haul Railway project? 

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte made this pitch even as project proponents look to Japan as its potential new financial backer. 

“It would be ideal for Tokyo to build a bullet train in lieu of a regular railway system, as envisioned in the original financial negotiations with Beijing during the previous Duterte administration, given Japan’s expertise in this state-of-the-art rail technology," Villafuerte said in a statement Thursday, Nov. 9. 

“Alongside its expertise in building superfast trains, Tokyo would be the ideal funding source for the South Long Haul Railway project, given its sterling record in financing the Philippines’ flagship projects, particularly in the transportation sector, and the well-established commitment and support of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for our country’s transport modernization program,” he added. 

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) recently scrapped the Official Development Assistance (ODA) from China as a funding source for the P141.79-billion project. Now, Japan appears to be tantalizing alternative. 

In giving up the proposed Chinese component of the project, Villafuerte said the project design will have to be done by the new financier, and “If this prospective fund source happens to be Tokyo ODA, we might as well ask the Japanese to design and then build a bullet train for us." 

The National Unity Party (NUP) president said that a bullet train would drastically slash travel time between Metro Manila and Bicol. 

“This would spell greater economic activity and more jobs  in Bicolandia; lead to more Bicolanos returning to their home provinces in Region V, which would decongest the national capital; and boost tourism in our region," he said. 

Japan boasts a network of Shinkansen bullet trains, with each train having a top speed of 320 kilometers per hour (kph). These trains--known for their aerodynamic "bullet" shape--run across the islands of Hokkaido Honshu and Kyushu. 

The South Long Haul Railway and two more projects—the Mindanao Railway and the Subic-Clark Railway—form part of the 197 flagship infrastructure projects of the Marcos government. 

Villafuerte noted that Japan has “150 years of experience in rail development with 30,000 kilometers of rail with 25 billion riders a year".

Source: Manila Bulletin (