The Department of Transportation (DoTr) on Monday said it is prioritizing the employment of displaced drivers and conductors of public utility vehicles and overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in its projects such as the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Clark Phase 1 Project.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said some former 200 OFWs are now working in the project as he encouraged more displaced OFW to sign up.
Tugade also called on other displaced workers in the transport sector, including PUV drivers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, to work in DOTr projects.
At least 7,500 workers were employed during the construction of the project, while 2,000 additional jobs will be made available once the project becomes operational.
PNR Clark Phase 1, the first leg of the massive North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project, is “on track” for opening in the second half of 2024.
The project is almost halfway complete, with a progress rate of 45.82 percent as of 26 May.
“This is very historical because we attempted to start this project since 1993. We always talk about the groundbreaking, but now we have started the construction,” Tugade said.
Funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project (Malolos-Tutuban), also known as the PNR North 1 Project, is a 38-kilometer railway that will connect Tutuban Station in Manila to Malolos in Bulacan. It was signed in November 2015.
PNR North 1 has 10 stations, which will cut across the cities of Manila, Caloocan, Valenzuela and the municipalities of Meycuayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto and Malolos in Bulacan.
Once completed, the project is expected to serve 300,000 passengers daily and will reduce travel time from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban from an hour and 30 minutes to 35 minutes.
The transportation chief said the project’s training simulator will be arriving between September and October, while the trains will arrive in December.