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IN BICOL: PNR tags over 100 illegal RR crossings

AN illegal railroad crossing in Camambugan, Libmanan where two persons were killed and 15 other passengers were injured when a train hits a commuter van on Dec. 19. (Ernie Marfil)

NAGA CITY --- Over 100 railroad crossings along the Camarines Sur-Albay track of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) are constructed without the prior permission of railroad authorities thus they are considered illegal, a PNR official said on Monday, Jan. 6.

Gregorio Maño, PNR supervisor in Camarines Sur, said these illegal railroad crossings can be found starting from Lupi in Camarines Sur up to the end of the railway line in Legazpi City. Most of these crossings are located in barangay and municipal roads and even in roads near private subdivisions.

He said that in Naga City alone, they have identified three illegal railroad crossings. These are those located in: Cory Aquino Avenue going to SM City Naga; another one between SM and Saint Joseph School; and the one in St. Joseph School itself.

Antonio Bare Jr., officer-in-charge of Naga PNR Station, advised local government units (LGU), private subdivision developers and anyone for that matter to seek prior formal permission from the PNR central office before they construct roads passing through railroad track.

The PNR is not liable for any damage or injury resulting from accidents that may happen along these illegal crossings where our train is involved, although we give financial assistance to victims of accidents along those railroad crossings for humanitarian consideration only, Bare said.

Bare said that in cases of illegal road crossings along barangay, municipal and city roads, the LGU should assign personnel to manage traffic in these crossings particularly during times when PNR trains are scheduled to pass by these areas to avoid accidents.

We lack personnel to guard these crossings and manage traffic here, he said.

The issue of illegal railroad crossings surfaced as a result of the latest accident that happened in Barangay Camambugan in Libmanan town where a train hit a passenger van that killed public school teacher Glenda Rabago and Grade 6 pupil Jaime Victor, both from Sipocot, Camarines Sur. Fifteen other passengers were injured in the incident that happened at 11:50 AM on Dec. 19 last year.

As this develops, the PNR has attempted to close the illegal railroad crossing in Camambugan in Libmanan. However, its personnel were stopped by barangay officials.

During the hearing called by the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) on Dec. 6, the PNR agreed to temporarily hold the closure of the Camambugan crossing pending the formal submission of the joint barangay council and SB’s resolution requesting the PNR to grant permission to keep the crossing open to vehicular traffic.

The barangay council also promised to assign personnel to man and manage the traffic in the crossing.

According to PNR, there are 442 railroad crossings starting from its Tutuban station up to Legazpi City station.

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