Support PNR for efficient train service

TRAVELING abroad, I cannot help but envy the efficient and modern trains they have in these countries. Recently, Taiwan and Malaysia comes to mind. I write this while onboard Malaysia’s ETS (Electric Train Service) from Ipoh to KL Sentral, approximately 200 kms. away. It costs RM25 to RM45 from Ipoh to KL depending on whether it is a stopping service or a non-stop express, and takes about 2 hrs and 20 mins.

Clean, luxurious, and air-conditioned coaches. Somewhere which you can ride with your whole family, kids and all, and still feel safe riding on it. There is even a food counter in Coach C where you can buy beverages and food in microwaveable containers. Coffee is for RM2.50 while noodles at RM5.50.

But, the most beautiful thing about it is – the tracks are clear of illegal settlers the entire stretch! Made me realize how corrupt and bereft of “love of country” our officials are in the Philippines to allow this to happen.

Such a tragedy, really, to have “home along da riles” perpetuated and not acted upon. Malaysia benefits from having efficient and modern mass transport systems because this is a necessary backbone to a vibrant tourism industry and economic prosperity. Ordinary Malaysians can easily move around their country.

Traveling broadens your horizons. Gives you insights on what is possible and makes you dream even the impossible. No wonder Malaysians dream big and make things happen!

Naturally, transport efficiency makes it easy for produce from the different states to find their way to the shelves of commercial centers and warehouses at minimal costs.

For decades, I’ve dreamed for our very own Philippine National Railways to grow a conscience and finally repay our country and our people with a train system that works and connects the lives of our fellow Filipinos.

Isn’t it ironic that we had that decades ago – and not now with all this technology? Something’s wrong with the equation.

Fortunately, DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya knows his math and engineering. Hopefully, he can further support present PNR General Manager Junio M. Ragragio, who appears to be headed in the right direction.

A few hours after finishing this column, a PNR train was derailed somewhere in Quezon due to flooded tracks caused by Typhoon Ofel. PNR needs Malacanang’s help more than ever. We all deserve a better train service.

NOTE: Thank you Zest Air and Tourism Malaysia for inviting us to be part of “Tara na sa Malaysia!”

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