PNR to put up CCTV, fences to deter looting of rail parts

KD Suarez
PNR to put up CCTV, fences to deter looting of rail parts
This is to deter would-be looters from stealing rail parts, which officials say caused last month's train accident

MANILA, Philippines – After missing rail parts were found to be the cause of last month’s train accident, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) is set to put up CCTV cameras and perimeter fences to deter looters from stealing railway parts. 

Last April 29, a southbound train composed of 3 coaches got derailed between the EDSA and Nichols station of the PNR, injuring at least 77 people.

Officials said missing rail joints, angle bars, and rail clips – which were likely pilfered – had caused the derailment.

During a meeting of the House committee on transportation on Wednesday, May 13, Bulacan 2nd district representative Gavini Pancho and Ako Bicol party list representative Rodel Batocabe asked PNR officials to explain how the missing railway parts were stolen.

Batocabe asked PNR general manager Joseph Allan Dilay if the rail clips and bolts of the train tracks could be easily removed without the use of special equipment.

Dilay admitted that the railway parts of the PNR were already old and dilapidated, making them easier to be forced off.

Ang mga modern rail accessories, hindi basta-basta nananakaw. Kaso ang nakakabit sa PNR ay dilapidated na, locally fabricated lang. Madaling makalas. Either nananakaw or natatanggal,” he said.

Bulacan 2nd district representative Gavini Pancho also asked Dilay if there were CCTV cameras installed in the area, which is populated by communities of informal settlers.

Dilay said the PNR is in the process of buying the cameras and fiber optics systems, estimated to cost P40 million.

He added that they are also eyeing the construction of a concrete perimeter fence, estimated to cost around P150 million.

President’s directive

During the House meeting, PNR Assistant General Manager Diosdado Silva recounted what train officials have done in their investigation of the April 29 accident.

Immediately after deploying its quick response team to the accident site, Silva said PNR reported the incident to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and contacted their consultant, the TÜV Rheinland Group, to conduct an integrity structural assessment of the train line.

On April 30, Silva and DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya went to Malacañang to report the incident to President Benigno Aquino III.

Silva said Aquino directed them to coordinate with the health department to provide medical assistance to the injured passengers, and to assess the condition of the train line to ensure the safety of the riding public.

Silva said the President also asked Abaya to discuss PNR’s funding with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

Since the April 29 incident, operations of the PNR from the Tutuban station in Manila to Calamba, Laguna, have been suspended indefinitely to allow officials to inspect the train tracks. – Rappler.com

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