IN addition to the benefits of improved mobility and connectivity, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Calamba Project will also provide over 10,000 direct jobs once its construction starts next year, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade underscored on his visit to Laguna on Tuesday (July 13, 2021).
During his inspection of the PNR Banlic Depot in Calamba, Laguna, Sec. Tugade said the project will provide employment opportunities not only for Calamba residents but also its nearby areas.
“Importanteng malaman natin ‘yung [dami ng] mga nagta-trabaho during the construction phase at mahalaga rin na malaman natin ‘yung mga magtatrabaho ‘pag natapos na ang proyekto.
Mahigit sampung libong (10,000) trabaho po ang maibibigay nito sa ating mga kababayan oras na ito ay simulang itayo. Direct jobs pa lang ‘ho ‘yan,” Sec. Art Tugade said, adding that indirect jobs will also flourish during the construction phase.
The PNR Calamba project will also benefit employees and students as the rail line is expected to significantly cut travel time going to and from workplaces and schools, enabling them to spend more time with their families, according to the transport chief.
“Ano ‘yung benepisyo? Magkakaroon ka ng faster mobility. Sino ang makikinabang diyan? ‘Yung mga nagta-trabaho, ‘yung mga mag-aaral – ‘yung pagpunta nila sa kanilang mga paaralan. Makikinabang din ang mga trabahadores kung papunta sila sa kanilang mga trabaho,” Sec. Tugade said.
He added that completion of the PNR Calamba will boost local and regional economic development.
“Kung magagawa natin ito, talagang aangat at aangat ang ekonomiya ng Calamba. Remember, this is a historical site. Imagine the benefits it would generate for tourism,” he explained.
For his part, Calamba City Mayor Justin Chipeco expressed his gratitude to the national government for what he called as a “game-changer” project that will benefit Calamba and its residents.
“In my 18 years of service in the government, this is the first time I saw this kind of project especially in our town. This is really a game-changer. In the past years we’ve been looking for something that will bring up the level of services in our community,” Mayor Chipeco said.
“Once you give mobility to people, itong proyektong ito para sa mga mahihirap ito. Hindi na nila kailangan pumila pa sa bus at hindi na ma-trapik sa daan,” Chipeco added.
One of the flagship projects of the Build, Build, Build (BBB) Infrastructure Program of the Duterte administration, PNR Calamba – the third leg of the massive North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project – will connect Metro Manila (Solis St., Tondo) and Calamba, Laguna from the current four (4) hours to just one (1) hour.
The 56-kilometer railway project is expected to serve at least 340,000 passengers a day during its partial operations, while ridership is expected to increase up to 550,000 passengers once the railway is on full operation in 2028.
Funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and with the Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), PNR Calamba’s 19 stations are located across five cities in Metro Manila and six cities in Laguna.
Secretary Tugade said the opening of bids for the civil works of the depot will begin on Wednesday, 14 July 2021, adding that the awarding is expected within three to four months before proceeding with the mobilization works.