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EDITORIAL | Train to Bicol

A well-publicized test run of the Bicol Express train is set on November 18, in line with the assurance of the Duterte administration to provide another mode of transportation for commuters from Manila to Bicol.

BICOL STANDARD file photo by Oscar Esmenda
Prior to Duterte, all other presidentiables in recent memory promised to fix and modernize the Manila-Bicol railway. This time, however, the pledge is coupled by a large budget allocation for rehabilitation that may bankroll a credible improvement.

If the test run proves successful, train operations would be resumed on November 24, Transportation Assistant Secretary Cesar Chavez earlier announced.

We Bicolanos are grateful for what appears to be finally a serious initiative to rehabilitate and revive the Bicol Express. This after numerous letdowns that the service would be reopened, first in September 2014, then in October and November of the same year, due to damages brought about by Typhoon Glenda.

Still, we can’t help but have some apprehension that there will be delay or derailment, or that the machine will conk out somewhere along the way during the test run, or even during the resumption of the service. But our apprehension is not unwarranted; our long history of experiences attests to these very real possibilities.

At the very least, let us hope the Duterte administration is sincere, and that the revival of the train is not an empty promise based on nothing but lip service.

Let us keep our fingers crossed that the once-popular Bicol Express will run again.


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