Filipinos were elated when the Department of Transportation announced that the Philippine National Railways has now opened their Malabon-Taguig line as part of their extension project.
Based on the government agency’s Facebook posts, PNR will have eight trips from Gov. Pascual Station in Malabon to FTI Station in Taguig and vice-versa. They will also have four trips from Tutuban to Gov. Pascual.
A single-journey ticket costs P25 in an airconditioned coach while a non-airconditioned coach would cost P20. The travel time in the new line is estimated to be 58 minutes.
The launching of the extension project was attended by DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, PNR General Manager Junn Magno and Malabon City Rep. Ricky Sandoval, among others.
The extension earned praises from commuters who ply the same route via buses and private cars in EDSA.
The extension is believed to be the fastest and most efficient route from Malabon to Taguig and then vice-versa. It is part of the train’s Metro North Commuter Service.
The road to northern extension
DOTr and the Department of Public Highways previously approved the recommendation of PNR General Manager to extend the line of the train from Malabon to Taguig. It initially served up to the Caloocan area only.
Apparently, Malabon City Rep. Ricky Sandoval previously asked if the PNR line could be extended to Malabon for the sake of his residents who wanted to avoid heavy traffic in EDSA as they travel to their workplaces.
It was also lobbied by his wife, Malabon City Vice Mayor Jeannie Sandoval, to Tugade.
Prior to the Malabon-Taguig route being approved, the PNR already extended its northern route to Sangandaan, Caloocan last September.
PNR acting operations manager Joseline Geronimo said that it was a response to the commuters’ call to extend the line in that area.
“Mataas na ang clamor na doon sa Sangandaan. Dati naman sa Sangandaan kasi talaga,” she said in an interview.
The Sangandaan line existed before but it got closed in 1997 because of the controversial North Luzon Railways Corporation (Northrail) project that was supposed to connect Metro Manila to two provinces—Malolos, Bulacan and Clark, Pampanga.
The Chinese-backed initiative was discontinued in 2012 after issues of bribery, overpriced contracts and no conducted public bidding.
The dispute was only settled in 2017 after a signing agreement that was witnessed by then-Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, among others.