Press Release
August 29, 2019

Zubiri: Modernization of PNR train system needed

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri is pushing for the restoration and rehabilitation of the existing lines of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to hasten passenger and cargo mobility, especially in times of emergency.

Under Senate Bill No. 106 or the proposed Philippine National Railways Modernization Act, the PNR is directed to implement its mandate of restoring and rehabilitating its existing railway lines and expand to other provinces or build new lines in Luzon.

The railway system used to have 400 railroad crossings stretching from Manila to Legaspi City. Today, its Manila operation runs from Tutuban station in Caloocan City, with only 42 railroad crossings servicing seven trains.

"It is time for the railways system to serve our need for an integrated transportation system," Zubiri said, stating that the country's disaster risk reduction and management plans will be served well by a "modern railways system that could transport personnel, equipment and supplies rapidly in case of emergencies to save lives, properties, livelihood and communities."

Zubiri's bill also mandates the PNR to establish an additional railway extension line from Cumon, Daraga, Albay to Matnog, Sorsogon via Bulan, Sorsogon, and another from Calamba City to Batangas City.

Funding for the restoration and rehabilitation of the PNR will come from the unappropriated funds of the National Treasury.

The proposed bill also directs the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to include in the government's annual budget of expenditures the necessary fund needed to increase the authorized capital stock of the PNR, the amount of which shall be made available as needed in the establishment of new railway extension lines.

"The proposed bill lays the necessary ground for the modernization of the Luzon railways system by providing a timetable and mandating that funds be made available by the executive branch to the PNR as may be needed," Zubiri said.

In February this year, the PNR started construction of the 38-kilometer Tutuban-Malolos segment reaching the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, which is part of the northern segment of the 109-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway. The Tutuban-Malolos segment aims to cut travel time from Malolos to Manila by almost an hour, from 95 minutes to just 35 minutes.

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