Senator JV Ejercito wants to impose stiffer penalties against individuals found guilty of stealing train parts through the Train Protection Act of 2015 (Senate Bill No. 3094).

Ejercito said the government should now classify robbery of train parts as a heinous crime punishable by a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for those guilty of the crime, since it poses serious danger and risk to the lives of train passengers, even to the people living or walking nearby railway tracks.

He cited the derailment of three of coaches of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) last April 29, 2015 as an example. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the accident was caused by missing or stolen track components such as angle bars and other rail fastenings. The accident left around 80 passengers injured.

“With the poor condition of our train systems, all the more should we act against this growing crime of stealing of train parts. Trains are expected to provide safe, efficient, and affordable mode of public transportation. This bill is also timely since the government would soon embark on a massive railway project. We need this for safety,” Ejercito, Chairman of Subcommittee on Transportation under the Public Services Committee, today said.

Ejercito is a known advocate of modernizing public transportation and infrastructure. He is currently pushing for the modernization of the Philippine National Railways and the development of trains all over the country. © Ria Manuel, January 26, 2016