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Rail industry regulator proposed by lawmaker

Rail industry regulator proposed by lawmaker

Legislators in the Philippine House are advocating the creation of a railway industry authority within the bureaucracy that would ensure the efficient management of the rail industry.

Introducing House Bill 8510, a proposed Railways Industry Authority Act of 2023 introduced by Rep. The Railways Industry Authority of the Philippines would be an attached agency of the Department of Transport, as proposed by Bernadette Herrera (Bagong Henerasyon Partylist) on Saturday.

The proposed Railways Industry Authority would be the centralized authority responsible for regulating and ensuring the country’s numerous railway systems comply with safety standards.

The bill’s explanation notes that this is a result of “fragmented” railway management, which results in inconsistent policies and standards, and inefficient planning and regulation processes.

A board of directors will oversee the proposed body, issuing certifications and franchises, and regulating investments in the railroad industry.

Additionally, the railway management body would be responsible for prescribing and enforcing domestic and international legislation related to the railway industry.

It is proposed that the proposed board be composed of the Secretary of Transportation, the Undersecretary for Railways, the Secretary of Labor and Employment, the Secretary of Public Works, the Secretary of Budget and Management, the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Secretary of Finance; as well as a private sector representative.

The Public Services Act passed by the previous Duterte administration allowed foreign investment and full foreign ownership in the railway sector.

The LRT-1 — operated by Metro Pacific Investments Corp., a consortium led by conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. — is the only exception to the government’s control over the country’s railways.

Light Rail Transit Authority and Philippine National Railways’ mandates would be amended if the bill passes into law.

There are eight railway proposals submitted by the Marcos Jr. administration out of 194 infrastructure projects supported by the government.

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