TRANSPORTATION Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya has clarified that the Philippine National Railways (PNR) has not yet decided on a fare increase.
The clarification came after a non-government group staged a protest on Monday denouncing the supposed fare hike by the government-run PNR.
On the first working day of the year, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) held a protest against the purported fare increase and “privatization” of the PNR line.
“No decision yet on fare hike,” Abaya said in a text message to The Manila Times.
“I think PNR is still conducting public consultations [on the matter],” he added.
The fare in the PNR rail system that currently runs from Tutuban, Manila, to Calamba City, Laguna ranges from P10 to P30.
Contrary to KMU’s claim, Abaya said, PNR is not going to be privatized.
“What we have for the PNR is the North-South Rail project where Phase 1 of the north line is assisted by JICA [Japan International Cooperation Agency],” he addded.
The North-South Rail Project (NSRP), which is divided into the north line and the south line aims to expand the PNR system to the north and south ends of Luzon.
The north segment of the NSRP that will run from Malolos, Bulacan, to Tutuban will be constructed by the government through the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
The rail line in the north of Luzon will run 37 kilometers over 10 stations.
Toward the end of 2015, JICA and the Philippine government entered into an agreement, with the Japanese agency extending a $2 billion (roughly P94.2 billion) official development assistance (ODA) loan for the rail project.
The proposed NSRP south line– under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). program–will run from Metro Manila to Legazpi City, Albay, and will cost P171 billion.
The south segment of the rail line will cover approximately 653 km.
It consists of commuter railway operations between Tutuban and Calamba and long haul railway operations between Tutuban and Legazpi, including extended long haul rail operations on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and extension between Legazpi and Matnog (Sorsogon).
The NSRP aims to revive the state railway to provide improved transport and logistics services to currently underserved areas and encourage more productive activities.