Government workers will get free rides in three major railway systems on Monday, September 19, 2022.
This was announced by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) through the social media Facebook, saying the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3), Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT2), and Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT2) will accommodate state employees free of charge on Monday.
This as a leader of the House of Representatives lauded recently the almost five-fold increase in the proposed funding totaling P113.99 billion for next year to modernize the country’s railways as it would help solve the Philippines’ mass transport problems.
The DOTr said the free rides offer was in conjunction with the month-long Philippine Civil Service anniversary celebration as part of the Civil Service Commission’s “Treats to Government Workers.”
“The free rides offered to our government workers in our major rail lines is the DOTr’s way of honoring them. These civil servants give important contribution and perform indispensable role in nation building,” Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said.
The free rides however as are available only from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For its part, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will give free rides to government employees the whole day, from first to the last trip in all operational routes, subject to the availability of its trains.
Government workers must present their IDs as proof of their employment with any government agencies, offices, and instrumentalities to avail of the free rides.
In a statement, House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe said the “massive increase” to finance the expansion of the country’s railways shows the Marcos administration’s commitment in developing a “fast, efficient, and easily accessible mass transportation system” and in decongesting traffic in Metro Manila and other metropolitan areas.
Dalipe noted that the proposed budget for railway modernization swelled to P113.99 billion for 2023, which was almost five times the previous budget of P23.12 billion in 2022.
He said next year’s proposed budget would finance various big-ticket railway projects, particularly in building an additional 1,200 kilometers of railways which could provide transportation for 4.5 million passengers daily.
“We are happy that the new administration’s thrust in solving our transportation problem is to expand and modernize our railways. This should have been the priority a long time ago and we would never have to endure the monstrous traffic in Metro Manila. The railway is still the easiest and fastest way to transport people, not cars,” Dalipe said.
“We will not just solve our traffic problem but we can also decongest Metro Manila’s population. If we have a modern rail system. Filipinos would definitely choose to live outside of Metro Manila,” he added.
He also lauded the appointment of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez, both of whom are experts in the railway and transportation sector and have a very deep background in the various railway projects that are part of the government’s long-term development agenda.
Their appointments, he said, show President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s resolve in fulfilling his promise to develop a world-class national railway system.
“Our long-term goal should be to continuously increase the coverage of our light rail system in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces and extend our rail connection to Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” he said.