MANILA - The Philippine National Railways (PNR) unveiled Wednesday two sets of brand new diesel multiple unit (DMU) trains procured from Indonesian firm PT. Industri Kereta Api (Persero) “PT INKA” for P485.31 million.
The train units, each with three coaches, will be fully operational by December 16, said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who led the arrival and unveiling ceremony at South Harbor, Manila.
“When we assumed, the administration of President Duterte, there were only 17 routes. As we speak today, there are already 36 operating routes, and that is performance indeed,” said Tugade.
“By January next year, we are expecting to have a total of 40 operating coaches,” he added, referring to the expected arrival of the second batch of INKA DMU train, 4 sets with 4 coaches each.
The first two trains will ply the Malabon and FTI route. Each coach can accommodate 250 passengers per trip.
“Ito mas reliable. Trains namin ngayon can just go 6 trips dahil nga maintenance issues. Ito, we’re slating this for between 8-10 trips per day at 800 [passengers] per set. That’s another 8,000 [passengers] per day capacity we’re putting per train, so we’re introducing 16,000 [passengers] per day,” PNR general manager Junn Magno explained.
Magno added that safeguards are in place to ensure that the trains are reliable.
“Isa sa safeguards namin dito sinegurado namin may standards kaming fina-follow… puro international railway standards nilagay namin doon sa TOR (terms of reference).”
In spite of the new procurements, PNR is not inclined to seek a fare hike, Magno assured the train commuters.
Also present in the event was Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Sinyo Harry Sarundajang, who pledged support for the Philippines’ infrastructure thrust.
“It is my honor to witness the first delivery of train sets this morning… other Indonesian state-owned corporations look forward to supporting the ‘Build Build Build’ project of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to strengthen the Philippine economy,” he said.
The total allocation for the procurement of the new PNR trains is P3.5-billion from the 2018 General Appropriations Act.
“For the first time after 14 years, ngayon lang po nakabili ang Pilipinas, through General Appropriations Act… We, the members of Congress, the House of Representatives, support the Executive in bringing back the glory of transportation in the Philippines,” said House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento.
The transportation department’s other railway projects include a railway system connecting Calamba, Laguna to Legazpi, Albay; and construction of the Malolos terminal station, and Manila subway.
The Bicol railway system will have partial operability in 2021. The Malolos terminal station is also expected to be operational before Pres. Duterte steps down in 2022, while the Manila subway will begin construction this month.