Press Release
May 5, 2015

Villar: Seek LGU assistance to secure PNR tracks

Sen. Cynthia Villar today urged the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to study the possibility of seeking the help of local government units after the derailment of two coaches which injured about 80 passengers.

"Rail tracks are vital public installation that should be secured. We receive reports that some of the metal parts of the tracks have been stolen, which could be the cause for the rails to be detached," Villar said.

"It will work for the benefit of constituents when LGU officials help to secure rail tracks servicing their district," she added.

Last week, two coaches of a PNR train bound for the Nichols train station derailed in Magallanes, Makati City causing minor injuries to passengers.

Villar said if PNR cannot deploy manpower to patrol its tracks, local police assistance is needed to secure the railways, especially the ones in populated areas.

"PNR should also look into the way they conduct routine inspections to assess the structural integrity of the tracks, bridges and station facilities. Is this handled by competent people? How frequent do they conduct inspection of the tracks?" she also said.

She added that while the decision of PNR to suspend operations will cause inconvenience to the riding public, this is needed while an extensive investigation is underway.

"We advise PNR to conduct the investigation with dispatch and start the repairs immediately so that operations can be resumed the soonest time possible," the Nacionalista Party senator said.

At least 70,000 passengers riding the 50 to 60 daily trips between Tutuban in Manila and Calamba in Laguna are affected by the suspension.

Villar, as chair of the Senate Committee on Government Corporation and Public Enterprises, supported the extension of the life of the charter of the PNR which was expiring on June 19, 2014.

She noted that numerous accidents involving PNR after its extension is unfortunate, saying when the Senate passed the bill, they believed PNR trains have a lot of potential when improved.

"Trains are the better form of transportation. It is cheaper and carries more people. Trains also don't have emission that pollutes the air we breathe," she said. Republic Act 10638 extends to another 50 years the corporate life of the state-owned PNR, the agency operating the commuter line running from Manila to Laguna. In October 2012, it suspended its line to Bicol after typhoons damaged the tracks.

News Latest News Feed