Calamba, Laguna¬†¬Ė A typical scene of the Pinoy¬ís everyday life along the¬†riles(railroad): thriving marketplace very near the railroad, families living in makeshift houses, tricycles ferrying commuters around.¬† National issues bombard Filipinos and cause tremendous pressures on people's lives, especially those of the low-income families who struggle very hard to make both ends meet.¬† Despite the challenges, we Filipinos manage to adapt.¬† We make do of what we have, and we carry on making the most of the situation, no matter how uncomfortable or difficult.¬†¬†
For many years, mass transportation has been a very problematic issue for us, not only for people living in Metro Manila but for those who live and work in the suburban.¬† The most reliable mode of public transportation is the train, and for most Pinoys, the first train that comes to mind are the classic trains of the Philippine National Railways (PNR).¬†
The PNR trains have their share of issues, too.¬† These, unfortunately, are felt by thousands of Filipinos who rely on the PNR's services to move from place to place in this busy world where mobility is one of the critical requirements for success.
Enter the Hybrid Electric Train (HET).¬†
The HET is a project of the Department of Science and Technology ¬Ė Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) in partnership with the PNR.¬† Apart from providing long-term technology-based solutions to the worsening mass transportation situation of the country, the HET aims to raise the efficiency of the PNR¬ís operations through reduced production and operational costs.¬† The partnership between the DOST-MIRDC and the PNR is behind the eventful journey of the HET.¬† After its launch in 2016, the HET successfully conducted various tests and just recently, passed the reliability, availability, maintainability, and safety (RAMS) testing in late 2018. ¬†In the pipeline of activities for 2019 is the PNR¬ís validation of the RAMS testing which will require 150 hours.¬† After the validation, the HET prototype will finally be turned over to the PNR for commercial use plying the Alabang-Calamba route.¬†
The HET prototype represents the technology proudly designed and developed by Filipinos.¬† A product of the DOST-MIRDC¬ís research and development initiatives, the HET technology is a breakthrough in its own right.¬† This home-grown technology, once given a chance, is going to make the Filipinos' public transportation challenges a thing of the past.¬† Although the DOST-MIRDC and the PNR are still finalizing the schedule of remaining activities before the turnover of the HET prototype, the technology is good and ready.¬† ¬ĎWe are turning over the prototype to the PNR, but the technology is now ready for transfer to and commercialization by the private sector,¬í says DOST-MIRDC Executive Director, Engr. Robert O. Dizon.
After the completion of the validation tests, the turnover of the HET prototype is the next activity that will follow.¬†¬† We are looking forward to this event as it will mark the beginning of better commuting experience for every Juan de la Cruz.¬† The PNR¬ís train service, the DOST-MIRDC¬ís engineering and R&D capabilities, and the eventual involvement of the private sector for the mass production and wide-scale commercialization of the HET will create the ecosystem we need to build and sustain a Philippine railway industry.¬† The upcoming turnover event of the HET prototype is indeed going to be the fruition of the past years' hard work and will set the scene for the realization of every Filipino¬ís dream of a safe, comfortable, environment-friendly, and reliable public transportation.