LEGAZPI CITY — The Citizens Crime Watch Bicol chapter will file before the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday a complaint against Philippine National Railways officials on the procurement of allegedly sub-standard wooden railroad ties for the repair and maintenance of the rail line in the Bicol region.
The complaint gained steam as residents in Guinobatan town in Albay raised alarm that newly installed wooden railroad ties should be investigated and re-examined as these are soft wood which may not guarantee the safety of moving trains.
In 2012 the PNR entered into a contract for the purchase of imported wooden railroad ties classified as first class hardwood amounting to P49 million.
The charge alleged that then general manager Junio Ragragio allegedly bought substandard wooden railroad ties of soft wood quality in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Aside from Ragragio, other respondents are PNR project manager Edgardo Remonte, the PNR board of directors and several John Does.
The complaint alleged that the railroad ties delivered by the contractor appeared to be “palo china and gmelina” species of 4th class quality. Thousands of these alleged procured soft railroad ties are still stockpiled at the PNR stations in Guinobatan town, Ligao city and other PNR stations in Albay.
PNR originally laid out railroad ties out of yakal and molave trees which now need replacement after more than sixty years.