‘Senador din ako,’ Padilla bewails lack of infra projects in Camarines Norte
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Robin Padilla reminded government officials on Tuesday that he is also a senator of the Philippines.
“Ang senador dito hindi lamang si Chiz Escudero [The senator here is not only Chiz Escudero],” Padilla said as the Senate finance subcommittee tackled the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“Senador din ako [I’m also a senator],” he added.
During the hearing, the senator questioned why Camarines Norte, his place of birth, was not included in the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul project.
Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez explained the coverage of the project starts from Calamba, Laguna to Daraga, Albay (Phase 1), then from Daraga to Matnog, Sorsogon (Phase 2), which is Escudero’s home province.
Phase 3 of the project covers Tiaong, Quezon to Batangas Port while Phase 4 covers from Calamba to Sucat.
The 380-kilometer railway project, however, was stalled due to funding issues.
Padilla, nevertheless, questioned why Camarines Norte was not included in the project.
“Bakit po naiwan yung Camarines Norte? Medyo parang aping-api kami,” he lamented.
(Why was Camarines Norte left behind? It feels like we’re being really neglected.)
While it is part of the plan to include the province, Chavez admitted there is no fund for it right now.
But Padilla said the province was not only left behind in the railway project but even in the rehabilitation of airports.
“Pangalawang taon na namin dyang lumuluhod. Huwag nyo naman kaming kalimutan,” he said.
(It’s our second year begging for it. Please don’t forget us.)
“Basted na kami sa train, basted pa rin sa airport. Napakasawing pag-ibig naman nito,” the senator further said.
(We got rejected on train, and now on airport [projects]. This is heartbreaking.)
Senate Deputy Majority Leader JV Ejercito, who defended the DOTr’s budget in the past, assured Padilla they would make sure to give funding for the railway project in Camarines Norte.