Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda has described the completion of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Bicol project as a “critical” mission for the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“I think finishing the Bicol railway is mission critical for PBBM’s (Marcos) administration and (Department of Transportation) Secretary (Jaime) Bautista, because it was a campaign promise by PBBM back in March,” Salceda said in a statement Saturday night, July 16.
“And, given his administration’s seriousness in resolving this hiccup early, I can see the sincerity to solve the problem,” he noted.
The PNR Bicol is a 560-kilometer rail system consisting of 35 stations. From Manila, it will traverse Laguna, Quezon, and Camarines Sur to Albay, with an extension line in Sorsogon and a branch line in Batangas.
According to Salceda, the construction and completion of the Bicol railway will be crucial not just for the Bicol region but also for nearby provinces, such as Samar and Leyte, the home province of the President’s family on the Romualdez side.
“The Bicol railway is very critical for Luzon-Waray commerce because it will terminate in Daraga, where the Bicol International Airport is. Move a little further down, perhaps through a cargo highway that Senator Chiz and I can propose, and you’re already in Sorsogon. From there, much of the maritime commerce between Luzon and Region 8 passes,” Salceda said.
“So, it’s crucial for cheaper logistics, food security, and trade and industry, especially between these two regions,” added the former three-term Albay governor.
He further described the Bicol railway as “the crucial link to the intermodal transport system that we are envisioning”.
“Once you have that complete, the people of South Luzon will have sea, air, rail, and road options for personal transport and cargo. And these transport systems will be interconnected, with the railway and expressways as the backbone of the network,” Salceda said.