Jan 22, 2019

If you’re a regular rider of the PNR train, you’re probably used to all the smog and sweat that’s become a mainstay of the train system. The PNR is the kind of thing that probably was once great, but now is just sad. (Read: The PNR could have been our best train system) You’ll be happy to know, then, that the PNR will soon add this new hybrid train to its lineup, and it’s designed to be more comfortable and use lithium batteries instead of diesel.

ICYMI, the Department of Science and Technology first launched the locally-produced train way back in 2016. It was a huge feat for Filipino technology as it didn’t just show innovation (the train’s batteries will “store the energy [the train] generates when it runs and stops,” cutting down fuel cost), but also initiative. “We have the solutions to our own problems. We can make local technologies work,” said then-DOST secretary Mario Montejo at the launch, referring to the age-old traffic problems that have plagued Metro Manila.

It’s a prescient statement to make. The Philippines is heavily reliant on other countries when it comes to trains, to an almost depressing degree. Remember how only seven MRT 3 trains were running last February due in part to complications caused by the whole scandal behind the Chinese Dalian trains? What about the Department of Transportation deal with the South Korean Busan Universal Rail Inc. for the MRT 3 that ended with former DOTr secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and others involved being indicted last year? Simply put, having to depend on other countries opens us up for corruption and exploitation.

Furthermore, because the hybrid train is developed by our own local scientists, the people behind it understand the concerns of the Filipino people, in a way that foreign workers just wouldn’t.

The DOST started work in 2013, making sure that the train would be a good addition to the Philippine National Railways System. “We built this with the intent of transferring ownership to PNR,” DOST Metals Industry Research and Development Center executive director Robert Dizon said. “We have no business in operating a mass transport system.” If only all of our politicians knew how to stick to their lane.


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TAGS: DOST hybrid train lithium batteries Philippine National Railways System PNR