Duterte urges next DOTr chief to continue improving railway systems

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2022 06:27 PM | Updated as of Jun 25 2022 07:34 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte looks at how a Philippine National Railways (PNR) operates as he inspects the train simulator, mock-up train, and the pantograph of the Philippine Railway Institute Training Center in Valenzuela City on June 12, 2022. Alfred Frias, Presidential Photo/file
President Rodrigo Duterte looks at how a Philippine National Railways (PNR) operates as he inspects the train simulator, mock-up train, and the pantograph of the Philippine Railway Institute Training Center in Valenzuela City on June 12, 2022. Alfred Frias, Presidential Photo/file

MANILA (UPDATED) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday urged the next leadership of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to continue improving the country's railways, saying this will provide "better opportunities" to Filipinos. 

"It is my hope that you will never lose sight of this goal, as the enhancement of this vital transportation connection will be the key to unlocking even better opportunities for our countrymen," said Duterte during the opening of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Lucena-San Pablo commuter line. 

"We know that with effective mass transport systems, we make places more accessible and easier to manage, thereby strengthening trade between rural and urban areas. In addition, we can boost our tourism sector, given the attractions and landmarks stationed near the terminals of this railway," he added. 

Duterte apologized to the public, saying he can only do as much in his term. 

He has "no doubt" however that President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. "would continue to build and build" until the country "would have a perfect mass transport system." 

"Indeed, our collective accomplishments throughout my term usher us into a brighter future where we can experience and feel the progress we have built from our shared aspirations," he said. 

NEW PNR COMMUTER LINE 

The PNR Lucena-San Pablo commuter line cuts the travel time from San Pablo in Laguna to Lucena in Quezon to 30 minutes from 1 hour, he said.

PNR General Manager Jun Magno said the commuter line would be a huge help to passengers looking for alternative ways to commute amid the heavy traffic and high fuel prices. 

Each train, Magno said, can accommodate up to 1,300 passengers per ride. 

"So pwede na kaming magkarga ng pasahero sa Lucena..so open namin ang unang service between San Pablo and Lucena dahil yung correigdor between San Pablo and Lucena napaka-congested na dahil sa traffic umaabot ng minsan 2-oras, 3-oras," said Magno. 

This will be its schedule: 

  • - Northbound Schedule (Lucena - San Pablo) - 5:00 a.m. / 9:00 a.m. / 1:30 p.m. / 5:30 p.m.
  • - Southbound Schedule (San Pablo - Lucena) - 7:00 a.m. / 11:00 a.m. / 7:30 p.m.

Tickets may range from P15 to P50, according to the matrix released by the PNR. 

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade described the station as "important."

Some ongoing projects Duterte left in the transport sector include the Metro Manila subway construction and the South Commuter Railway. 

Tugade in late May said the construction of the P488-billion Metro Manila subway would continue under Marcos, since all contracts and funding have already been secured.

The Asian Development Bank, meanwhile, approved this month around a $4.3 billion (around P227.7 billion) loan to the government to help finance its construction. 

The Duterte administration also finished the rehabilitation of the MRT-3 earlier this year.

Marcos has named former Philippine Airlines president and chief operating office Jaime Bautista as his transport chief.

— With a report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News

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