Mayor impressed by Philippines’ rail system
After returning from a five-day trip to the Philippines to study the country's rail transit system, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he is confident that the city is moving in the right direction.
"Ridership has continued to increase over time," Hannemann said of Manila's light-rail system. "This is a metropolitan area of some 10 million people. ... I shudder to think what it really would've been like if they were not able to have this kind of ridership there."
The mayor led a similar delegation to Japan in October to study that country's mass transit systems.
On this trip, Hannemann led a delegation of 20 people, including City Councilmen Romy Cachola and Nestor Garcia, who also helped promote Hawaii. The delegation met with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Manila Mayor Jose "Lito" Atienza Jr., and signed agreements reaffirming Honolulu's sister-city relationships with Manila, Vigan and Laoag.
The trip came as Hawaii prepares a year-long celebration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of when the first Filipino immigrants arrived in the state.
Hannemann said the delegation secured a commitment from Atienza to send a delegation from the Philippines to Hawaii next December to take part in the Filipino International Trade Exposition.
He also met with Ariel Abadilla, who is to assume the post of Philippines consul general in Hawaii on Thursday.
The mayor said he believes his trip has laid the groundwork for the success of future goodwill trips scheduled next year by Gov. Linda Lingle and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.