By Cha Monforte
Our state of transportation and the mighty China
The moment other countries boasts how their grand transportation plans are we are struck to thinking how backward is ours. The Mindanao Railway Project is now forgotten and both legislative and actions for it stopped. We are reduced to waiting for who will champion for it- verbally. But as of now there’s no news about it.
Whatever is happening to our national highways is- compliments of the general appropriations act of Congress. Our public works department’s accomplishment is dependent to GAA budget. Our budgets for road infrastructure- the maintenance budget for the road’s wear and tear as well as for the opening and pavement of national roads- remain pegged to agency’s growth projection from the recent year. By that, nothing revolutionary can expected yearly. We simply got no money for a great floodwater diversion canal from the Compostela Valley’s mainland valley, or a long high seawall for Tacloban City for the next typhoon and storm surge. Our state of infrastructure is after all dependent on the state of our economy.
If ever China is getting bolder and boastful day by day it is because the country now has much money to spend for gargantuan projects. It’s China’s economy, stupid, and for becoming mucho dinero in the new globalized order it has become aggressive to squat and poach on our maritime territories. The great brain twist of Pinoy’s colonial mind long bombarded by American values is the learning that it’s not all America there is to dream of, but China to see and travel to. It is starting early in this decade that study trips of our officials have been made to see China and what’s happening there.
Before, we dream – when can we ever reach America? “God created the world and the rest is by China” is a superlative for China’s great economic standing in all things that it makes which the mushrooming shang-shang stores sell at low prices. News and images in social media and the net have opened Pinoys’ eyes that there are, too, highly industrial cities in China that started long time ago. Our eyes have been fixated to knowing and seeing the industrial complexes in the West that for a long time we seemed to imagine that there were only backwardness, totalitarianism, temples, Bruce Lee and flying kungfus in communist China.
Forget communism, “if not of Mao Tse-tung millions of Chinese might have died of hunger,” said a late Tsinoy neighbor who had hardware in a then rustic town in Compostela Valley. That was twenty years ago when he uttered that statement to me. I didn’t know why- when we heard 20-76 million of Chinese who died during China’s great famine and starvation attributed to natural disasters, lack of food production (due to policies like the farm collectivization), about 2.5 million of whom due to communist purges, in Mao’s initial reign.
I reckoned the Tsinoy’s timeline in coming to our country. He must have come before World War II as he bagged a Pinay in Toril, Davao City. She accompanied him when they retreated from Toril during the war and they settled to vend for survival in a Comval town. The Tsinoy must be one among the fearful millions who fled China after Mao won his revolution in 1949. But he was definitely one of the great millions of Chinese who revered Mao as a great leader. Was the Tsinoy’s statement a belief to Mao’s Great Leap Forward that first transformed China’s economy from an agrarian economy to an industrial one? Whatever, I knew he often listened to short-wave Chinese-speaking radio program at night. The frequency band was like a counterpart of the Voice of America in the 70s.
Anyway, back to transportation. Wew, China is thinking out aloud again. It plans to build high-speed railway to US so people can travel back and forth China and the US including the countries of stopover without flying. Seems a ridiculous idea but “if Beijing gets its way that’s exactly what will be possible in the future,” Beijing Times put it. That news comes following China’s industrialization after Mao, that is dramatic but nauseating as to envelop Bejing now of snowlike smog. China’s urbanization tempo has been fast but it goes awry when it created problem of ghost modern, Parisian buildings by sheer absence or lack of occupants.
China’s planned high-speed railway is really fast as it would run about double of the full-speeding Bachelor Bus through the undersea tunnel that is about a more than a little length of Davao City to Butuan City. But the vast country boasts already a high-speed rail network connecting its cities. Before, it takes nearly 24 hours for people travelling from Beijing to Guangzhou, with a distance of over 2,000 kms. Now the journey time is cut to just 8 hours by bullet train. If we could only have bullet train, travel time to Cagayan de Oro from Davao City via Buda is only about 2 to 3 hours compared to the 6 hours of fastest private vehicle travel.
“The China-US railway is just one of four ambitious projects the country is thinking about undertaking. One line would connect China to London with stops in Paris, Berlin, and Moscow, while another would link the country to countries like Iran and Turkey. A fourth line, meanwhile, would stretch from China to Singapore, stopping in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia.” Wew, that would eventually connect to the Philippines.
We are thrilled to that prospect. But meantime, we are aghast at the thought that China has been lately making land reclamation on Mabini Reef following series of squatting and poaching acts to our maritime territories in the recent years. We can only pray to international court and be still strategically offensive to guard our West Philippine Sea as we have proximity advantage though our naval and air forces reel on limited equipment and fighting machines against a mighty China. (@chamonforte, @ruralurbanews in Twitter)