NAGA CITY (Apr. 20) — The restoration and rehabilitation of the Manila-Bicol line is being vigorously pursued and might be completed by the end of 2009 in time for the annual Penafrancia festival next September, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said during her visit here.
According to the Philippine National Railways (PNR), the resumption of train service between the Metro Manila and the Bicol Region up to Matnog in Sorsogon will benefit some 20,000 passengers daily. When completed, the line will also link Luzon to the Strong Republic Nautical Highway System. This will also facilitate the effective and efficient movement of commodities to strengthen the economic ties of Manila to the production centers of the South.
PNR General Manager Manuel Andal has confirmed that repairs and upgrading works of train stations in the Bicol Area started last March while the repair of the rail tracks will start in May.
In her speech, President Arroyo emphasized the importance of modernizing the country’s infrastructure to spur economic development in the countryside.