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THE MIND ACT

The Philippines faces a pressing challenge in addressing its infrastructure deficit, a reality starkly highlighted by its dismal ranking in the 2023 World Competitiveness Yearbook, where it placed 58th out of 63 economies in infrastructure.

Reflecting on my travels to countries across Europe and Asia (I’ve never been to the United States yet), where efficient transportation systems greatly enhance daily life, I cannot help but feel disheartened by the state of our transport system and the urgent need for improvement.

In countries like Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, and Japan, for instance, I appreciated the convenience of subway access just steps from my hotels. Not only does this make commuting easier, but it also contributes to reduced congestion and pollution.

In Europe, there is a plethora of transportation options—from trams and buses to metro trains, and bicycles. In Amsterdam and Switzerland, you can play “patintero” with trams.

Buses are extremely popular for cross-country travel, though, due to their affordability compared to trains.

However, my experiences weren’t always positive. In supposedly modern cities like Paris, there are still subway stations or bus terminals that have no lifts.  I recall the time when my sister and I struggled with four pieces of bulky luggage on staircases and relied on the kindness of foreigners who graciously assisted two ladies in need. This perhaps stems from Paris having built its infrastructure ahead of other cities and maintaining these structures for cultural reasons.

I am also excited about upcoming subway project passing through Taguig, with assistance from Japan. I recall former Senator Ping Lacson’s request for the subway’s entrance not to directly face the NSB. I realized that other than the need for thoughtful design, functionality, aesthetics, and accessibility, there are also security considerations.

With the recent sponsorship of the Masterplan for Infrastructure and National Development Act by Senator JV Ejercito in the Senate, I am hopeful for the future. This legislation marks a shift towards strategic planning, aiming to create a comprehensive 30-year infrastructure masterplan to guide development across sectors.

Central to the MIND Act is the establishment of the MIND Council, facilitating coordination and efficient resource allocation. Beyond physical structures, the Act aims to promote economic growth, reduce regional disparities, and improve quality of life.

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