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PNR acts on railroad crossing accidents

By Jason B. Neola


THE top management of the Philippine National Railways (PNR), headed by Atty. Celeste Lauta, general manager of the state-owned railway company, is visiting the provinces of Camarines Sur and Albay for a series of dialogues with barangay officials.


The discussions aim to address the accidents occurring at railroad crossings in their areas of jurisdiction from the time the PNR resumed operations in the Bicol Region, specifically in these two provinces, last year.


The PNR is currently operating from the town of Sipocot in Camarines Sur to Naga City, and from Naga City to Legazpi City in Albay.


There have been reports of accidents caused by vehicles occupying a portion of the railroad crossing, making it too late for drivers to remove their vehicles before being hit by the train. There have also been incidents of individuals being accidentally sideswiped by passing trains, as they either ignored or failed to hear the approaching train.


Lauta said that resolving these accidents is a priority for her office and will be addressed in discussions with barangay officials and city or municipal authorities. She mentioned that she would be compelled to close the railroad crossings if the concerned LGUs do not assign personnel to monitor these crossings to ensure public safety.


Lauta’s team is expected to conduct dialogues with the concerned LGUs until Friday, June 28. The PNR plans to implement a new policy to augment the number of coaches traveling the Sipocot-Naga route before the end of 2024.


Lauta noted that the train currently makes six round trips between Sipocot and Naga City daily. This service will be enhanced by adding more coaches to accommodate the growing number of passengers.


Naga City councilor Jose Perez commented that increasing the number of coaches would greatly benefit Bicolanos, especially students who study in Naga City and reside in towns along the train route.


Lauta’s decision to hold a series of dialogues with barangay officials and LGUs is timely, as an increasing number of train passengers is expected in the coming days.


Atty. Celeste Lauta, a Bicolana, has been with the PNR since 2014. She has served in various capacities before becoming an executive of the PNR in 2021. She was a consultant for the Real Estate Committee based in Naga City. She later on joined PNR Legal Division as Chief Corporate Attorney.


She serves as the PNR Board Assistant Corporate Secretary since May 6, 2015 up to present. She served as OIC-Manager of the Legal Division and she also served as the OIC-Manager of the Corporate Planning Division in 2017 where the five-year plan of PNR was approved with Revitalization, Transformation, Digitalization, Recovery and Expansion as the major direction of PNR.


She also became the Acting Assistant General Manager. She also led the Civil Security Office from 2020 up to 2022. She has served in various committees including the Appraisal and Disposal Committee, Bids and Awards Committee, Committee on Effective Discipline, Committee on Decorum and Investigation and many others.


She is also the PNR representative to the International Union of Railways, and a speaker to various railways conferences in the Philippines, Spain, Poland, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.


Atty. Lauta received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in Bicol University, Legazpi City where she graduated cum laude in 2002 and later on obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nueva Caceres in Naga City in 2006. She was admitted to the Bar in 2007. She also pursued a master’s degree in public administration in the University of Nueva Caceres.

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