Statement issued by His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the occasion of the opening of a new railway line in Mountain Province, January 15, 1944:

Transportation easily constitutes the main artery in the life of a nation. It is the channel through which commerce and progress must flow. One may even say that it is the means by which culture is developed and civilization advanced. The great and mighty empire of Alexander fell to pieces because there was neither transportation nor communication between its parts.

Hence it is a matter of national gratification that with the initiative and cooperation of the Imperial Japanese Army authorities in the Philippines, the Manila Railroad has been able to open a new line in the Mountain Province. This makes another rice land of the Archipelago accessible not only to commerce and industry, but also to the more lasting influence of civilization itself.

The enormous importance of a new railway extension particularly at this time when everybody is suffering due to the scarcity of prime necessities, which in turn is caused by lack of transportation from one producing center to another for the purpose of sale or exchange, needs no stressing. For lack of such transportation there may be famine in one place and abundance of crops in another two or three hundred miles away. In the Cagayan Valley, for instance, the people have such an abundant supply of rice that it will take them four years to consume, whereas in Manila the residents are in such dire need of the cereal that its price in the black market has become prohibitive.

Improvement and extension of railway lines thus serve the purpose of allowing the easy, constant and cheap transport of goods and the travel of passengers. More than that, it gives added impetus to the development of a country’s natural resources in which fortunately for us, the Philippines abounds.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library