By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay
IRIGA CITY (29-June-2012/PIA) – The city government and Philippine National Railways (PNR) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that will help prevent accidents in the rails.
PNR General Manager Jun Ragrario said that they will offer a P1,000 honorarium per month to whoever will man the railroad crossing and ensure that the warning signs are visible for traversing pedestrians and vehicles. The LGU in turn will provide the barricades and the signages.
Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen said that a schedule of the train trips will be provided by PNR that will serve as guide for the flagman to ensure that warning signals and barricades are properly in place.
“PNR can not resolve this alone. The community should also take part and of course the LGU. We are also thinking of a tripartite agreement, like involving the businessmen in this endeavor for a more effective implementation of safety standards regarding railroad crossings located in various barangays here in Iriga,” Gazmen added.
A recent train tragedy was when a tricycle was hit by Mayon Ltd., an ordinary train bound to Manito, Albay, when the driver persisted in crossing the railroad tracks despite the blowing of horns and warning by bystanders. On board the tricycle is a young teacher who perished together with a group of high school students who are about to go their respective schools. This incident killed six passengers and wounded eight others.
This also caught the attention of Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas who immediately ordered for the thorough investigation of the said mishap that happened Friday last week at the boundary of Barangay San Isidro and San Agustin this city.
Gazmen said that her primordial concern now is the safety of her constituents, particularly those settlers along the PNR sites. She has also spoken with the group of tricycle drivers with regards to overloading of passengers.
“We have informal settlers where the PNR railroad traverse and we are thinking of how we can reconcile with the legalities and of course the safety of our people,” Gazmen said in an interview.
PNR said that the crossing where the accident happened is unauthorized and is not part of the 256 existing permissible railroad crossings operated by their office. Train drivers know the officially permitted crossings where they are taught to slow down and be watchful of crossing pedestrians. At a speed of 35 kph, a one-kilometer distance is required for the train to come to a full stop.