Press Release
May 27, 2015

Villar urges PNR to resume operations before the opening of classes

Sen. Cynthia Villar asked the Philippine National Railways (PNR), the state-owned agency that operates the railway system running in Luzon, to resume operations before schools start its academic year.

"With the opening of classes, ridership is expected to rise again and we need the cheapest mode of transportation that can carry more people. We hope the PNR will make good on its promise to hasten the investigation and the repairs needed to ensure the safety of passengers," Villar said.

Last April 29, two coaches of a PNR train bound for the Nichols train station derailed in Magallanes, Makati City causing minor injuries to 80 passengers. PNR suspended its operations to make way for investigation and repairs.

According to a copy of PNR General Manager Joseph Allan Dilay's report on the derailment incident provided to Villar, PNR's third party consultant, TUV Rheinland USA, will finish its investigation on May 22.

Dilay also gave the assurance that PNR's engineering and technical personnel are working double time, on day and night shifts to restore the line and resume train operations and services before the school opening or earlier.

"We cannot depend on the LRT and MRT, with the incidents regularly happening there, to transport our students safely. PNR trains should be fully operational with the guarantee that passengers will be safe and that mechanisms are in place to ensure structural integrity of the tracks, bridges, and station facilities," she said.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, worked for the extension of the charter of PNR to another 50 years in order to continue providing the people in the lowest-income bracket with a transport system that they can afford.

Compared to jeepneys and buses that charge P2 per kilometer, PNR provides the cheapest mode of transportation by charging only 71 centavos per kilometer, Villar noted.

Dilay's report also recommended the following actions to be taken:

* Speed restriction of maximum 35 kph in existing operations from Tutuban to Calamba.

* Installation of all missing clips, rail joints, angle bar, and other rail accessories, plus do the systematic rail replacement using the newly delivered rails.

* Inspection of all rails and joints along the whole line before start of operation.

* Expedite installation of CCTV

* Deployment of additional security guards in some locations that are subject to potential pilferage.

Earlier, Villar urged the PNR to seek the help of the local government units to patrol and secure its tracks, especially those nearby populated areas, if they are unable to deploy additional manpower.

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

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