MANILA, Philippines – Newly appointed Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio ‘Jun’ Abaya has ordered an investigation into the train accident in Quezon on Friday, which resulted in 5 people getting injured.
Abaya said he is expecting a report from the Philippine National Railways (PNR) on the condition of railroads in Southern Tagalog.
"We have to ensure that this will not happen again. I am instructing PNR to submit their report to me by this week on the current state of the rails in the south including their procedures how they assess whether or not they allow their trains to operate in Bicol during inclement weather," Abaya said in a statement released Saturday.
The Bicol Express Train 611 train that derailed in Barangay Canda in Sariaya was carrying 128 passengers.
The injured passengers were identified as Jesus Sevilla, 47; Fellomina Pantallon, 66; Ybeth Molina, 41; Alvin Cruz, 44; and Armida Granada, 50.
Authorities blamed heavy rains caused by tropical storm “Ofel” for the accident.
Initial reports also said flashfloods caused the derailment.
But Abaya said an investigation must still be conducted to determine what triggered the incident.
"It is imperative that all agencies of the DOTC adhere on having safe, reliable and affordable means of transportation. We have to get into the bottom if this incident could have been avoided or it was really due to the heavy rains brought by [tropical storm] Ofel that largely contributed to the accident," he said.