Press Release
June 19, 2015

Villar joins test run of PNR train

Sen. Cynthia Villar joined Philippine National Railways (PNR) officials today at the trial run of the commuter line from Tutuban to Sta. Rosa, Laguna Station.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises and principal sponsor of the law extending the corporate life of PNR to another 50 years, Villar said she has high hopes PNR will be able to deliver its promise for an improved and safe service when the commuter line becomes fully operational.

"I want to personally see for myself the improvements made on the tracks and facilities to ensure the safety of the riding public," Villar said.

Villar admitted the derailment and delayed resumption of PNR train operations raised safety concerns and she wants to be briefed on the actions taken to make sure derailment and similar accidents will not happen again.

"We are one with the PNR in prioritizing the safety of about 70,000 commuters who ride the 60 trips that the train provides on a daily basis. Before the resumption of the trips, we have to have an assurance that passengers will be safe and that mechanisms are in place to ensure structural integrity of the tracks, bridges, and station facilities," she said.

PNR conducted a test run of the commuter line from Manila to Laguna after more than a month of no operation. PNR suspended its trips following the derailment of two coaches last April 29 in Magallanes, Makati City, which caused minor injuries to 80 passengers.

Villar cited the PNR for availing the services of a recognized train derailment expert to help them identify the cause of derailment and the need for repairs and improvement.

She noted that experts declared that the cause of the April 29 derailment are theft and vandalism of railway clips, angle bars, and railway bolts. She also urged PNR officials to ask the help of local government officials to secure the tracks.

She added that the decision of PNR General Manager Joseph Allan Dilay to conduct a "thorough and system-wide inspection of the present condition of the 56-km railway and track infrastructure" is commendable.

"It cannot be denied that the PNR train service has deteriorated through the years, but it remains to be the cheapest mode of transportation that our people in the lowest-income can afford. I believe PNR trains can still improve so it can serve more Filipinos in the different parts of the country," Villar said.

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