Transport dept to stop PNR operations for 5 years for North-South railway construction

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2023 07:45 PM

MANILA -- The Philippine National Railways (PNR) will stop operations for about 5 years to give way to the completion of the North South Commuter Railway (NSCR), a Transport official told lawmakers on Thursday.

Transportation Undersecretary for Rail Cesar Chavez explained this is so that they can solve the right-of-way problems that plague the NSCR construction.

"In the spirit of transparency, we confirm that. Let me explain. Kailangang ihinto ang operasyon ng PNR sapagkat gusto natin matapos ang proyektong ito," Chavez said in response to House Committee on Transportation Chair Romeo Acop said.

Chavez explained that the PNR's operations are delaying the construction and that the government can generate savings by stopping PNR's operations so they can build on the existing alignment.

"Ang isa sa causes of the delay ng South Commuter project and Manila to Malolos is because continuous ang operation ng PNR. Second, yung mga utilities ho, ang isang dahilan kung bakit magkakagastos tayo nang mas malaki, in the previous administration po kasi, tuloy-tuloy lang ang PNR operation habang side-by-side ginagawa ang konstruksyon. Sabi ho ng pag-aaral ng ating mga consultant, we save P15 billion by stopping the operation of PNR para nang sa ganoon imbis na marami kang utilities na ire-relocate, doon ka na mismo sa sentro ng linya ng PNR gumawa ng riles," Chavez said.

Chavez however assured lawmakers they are preparing to mitigate the inconvenience to be suffered by the commuters of PNR.

"Pero hindi natatapos diyan ang kuwento. Kami ho ay sensitive doon sa mga sumasakay... Meron tayong ridership study, meron hong ugnayan sa LTFRB. Kapagka nag-stop ang operation, yung mga dating gumagamit diyan ay may masasakyan," Chavez said.

Chavez said they will properly inform the public when this is finalized. The closure may last 5 years, he said.

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