(Presidential photo by Toto Lozano) 

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday urged the incoming administration to continue leading the improvement of the country's railway systems.

"It is my hope that you will never lose sight of this goal, as the enhancement of this vital transportation connection will be the key to unlocking even better opportunities for our countrymen," he said during the opening of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Lucena-San Pablo Commuter Line.

Duterte stressed that an effective mass transportation system not only strengthens trade between rural and urban areas but also boosts tourism.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive said this latest project is proof of the Duterte administration's commitment to enhancing mobility and connectivity across the archipelago.

"With this, we will make everyone feel the change we have promised at the beginning of our term," he said.

The reopened railroad shortens travel time between San Pablo, Laguna and Lucena, Quezon from one hour to 30 minutes.

For Duterte, this also serves as a vital step towards restoring the PNR Bicol Express that will connect Metro Manila to the provinces in Southern Luzon and Bicol.

"Indeed, our collective accomplishments throughout my term usher us into a brighter future where we can experience and feel the progress we have built from our shared aspirations," he said.

"As my term in office draws to a conclusion, I am thankful that I spend my last days as President witnessing events like this and realizing that, even amidst the challenges around us, we will leave a legacy that brought meaningful and lasting changes to the lives that we have touched," he added. (PNA)