The Department of Transportation's Philippine Railway Institute (DOTr PRI) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) further strengthened its partnership in ensuring an efficient and dependable public transport, particularly railway systems in the country, through developing initiatives and strategies for rail workers.
This was after Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III signed on Thursday a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would boost DOTr's initiative of developing the manpower needed in running the country's railway system through PRI.
"Today's signing of the MOU with the DOTr PRI is crucial to undertake initiatives towards the development of human resources in the railway sector and in pursuit of the government's commitment to the maintenance and expansion of efficient, fast, and dependable public transportation system which are effective instruments for national recovery and economic progress," De Vera said in his speech.
According to De Vera, the Commission will focus on developing a system of credits to convert certification trainings of PRI into academic units that can be used in graduate studies and continuing professional education.
The Commission will also review the content and outcomes contained in the PRI certificate program and embed these into the existing engineering curricula for students to learn about railway engineering even at the university level.
"We will mobilize top engineering HEIs to provide experts who can act as trainers in the PRI certificate program and develop university-to-university linkages between Philippine and Japanese universities for joint research and development projects on railway development," De Vera said.
"The Commission looks forward to being able to harness the expertise of top HEIs, such as the University of the Philippines, Mindanao State University, Batangas State University, Mapua University, and the Technological Institute of the Philippines in the development of railway personnel capability and research and development," he added.
Meanwhile, Tugade said that the latest development in the partnership with CHED is in line with the Department's aim to expand the operational railway length in the country to 1,200 kilometers from the current 77 kilometers.
As the DOTr aimed to target its goal before the end of the current administration's term, Tugade said that they will be needing the help and expertise of quality railway personnel.
"It is crucial that we implement strict compliance with specific requirements, proper education, and necessary training for existing and future railway personnel as they will be running a system that will greatly contribute to the country's economic growth," Tugade emphasized.
"Being a part of the railway sector is a big responsibility and a huge fulfillment," he continued.
The PRI, which was created by President Duterte under Executive Order No. 96, will serve as a research and training center under the DOTr in response to the "urgent need to develop human resource capacities of railway personnel, to ensure their availability and competence, and guarantee their compliance with generally accepted standards of practice, as well as the rules and regulations pertaining to the safety, operation, and maintenance of railways.