Saturday, August 01, 2009


Many agree that one sure way to push the economic recovery of the country is for the rehabilitation of our railways both to the north and south of Manila. The modern and efficient rehabilitation of the Bicol Express all the way up to the province of Albay and the reopening of the Ilocos Express up to La Union must be taken into serious consideration by the current administration. Faster trains also mean faster deliveries of basic goods to the marketplace. And the result is that, if more people took to the trains and left their vehicles at home, we could live to see the day where a remarkable drop in air pollution may be a reality.

The biggest stumbling block for these plans are the presence of thousands of squatters along the tracks. Efforts to move them away have been sluggish, and many relocation efforts have ended up in violent confrontations due to the squatters' adamance to be transferred to other sites. Sadly so, they have become so uncontrollable and have contributed to stone-throwing at passing trains, including threatening Philippine National Railways (PNR) personnel with bodily harm.

On a lighter note, the new PNR could help solve the metropolis' traffic woes. Wouldn't it be great to have clean and comfortable PNR trains plying Los Banos to Manila and Malolos to other connecting routes, and then possibly connecting Damortis, La Union and San Jose, Nueva Vizcaya up to the Cagayan Valley? PNR stations could well be made with clean restrooms and snack shops, much like the ones in big American, European and Japanese cities - where commuters arrive by train, leaving their vehicles in the countryside. Or, how about reviving the pre-war streetcar or trambia in Metro Manila? Wouldn't that be something?

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