THE RAIL WAY POST OFFICE OF THE
PHILIPPINES - HOW IT OPERATES
By: Rosario Encarnacion, Chief Railway Mail Service Unit
The Railway Post Office (RPO)
operates within the mail car which the Bureau of Posts leased from
the Philippine National Railways (PNR) on a yearly contractual
basis, and thus enables the Bureau of Posts to serve the Way Post
Offices along the Railway Lines. It only operates on the two (2)
routes of the PNR - the Northern Line (Manila-San Fernando, La
Union), and the Southern Line (Manila-Legaspi City). Each trip of
each route are assigned with three (3) RPO personnel who board the
Mail Car with their specific assigned duties, namely: the
Clerk-in-Charge, the Assistant Clerk-in-Charge, and the Helper.
Mails for the Northern Line, being carried by RPO Train 10 include
those for the towns of Malolos, Paombong, Hagonoy, and Calumpit, all
in the province of Bulacan; the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac,
Pangasinan, La Union, Abra, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Benguet,
Bontoc, and Baguio City.
Those for the Southern Line, being carried by RPO Train 511, include
mails for all Southern Tagalog provinces along the Railway Lines,
for the Bicol Region and the towns of Northern Samar Province and
Masbate. But, before they go out on the field, they have to report
at the Central Post Office in Plaza Bonifacio to receive the mails
for the respective offices of destination as heretofore mentioned.
At the Parcel Post Section - Foreign Mail Division of the Central
Post Office, every morning the outgoing RPO clerks receive RPO Mail
Bags for provincial distribution and delivery. Each of these bags,
physically counted and re-checked according to destination, is
recorded on Waybill (BP Form No. 104), preparatory to their
dispatches to Way Post Offices. This procedure is routine, whether
for the North or for the South bound trips. These bags are usually
loaded into the mail truck after they were checked and verified. A
copy of the waybill or manifest of the outgoing bags is signed by
the three outgoing RPO Clerks. This waybill is then filed at the
records center of Region IV for file and record purposes.
The RPO Supervisor then goes to the Registry Unit of Distribution
Center "D" and the Clerk-in-Charge of the outgoing trip receives
loose registered matter, which consists of the following:
1. Registered mail which consists of letters, packages and
Collect-on Delivery (COD) mails
2. Listed Checks - coming from the Letter Check Section, which
are mails with accompanying records of addresses and the
corresponding number of
being sent; hence, each envelope is postmarked "Listed Checks".
3. Unlisted Checks - coming from the Letter Check Section which
are mails containing checks, but do not have accompanying
records, and these are
4. Bundles of Special Delivery letters and packages.
At the Registry Unit of DC "D", a mail
clerk opens each bag of loose registered matter in the presence of
the RPO Supervisor and the Registry Unit Supervisor, counting and
verifying on the accompanying Registry Bill the number of each item.
Each mail is back-stamped by the
Dispatching Section, Registry Division, Manila Post Office.
It should be noted that these bags are sealed and locked using a
Rotary Lock, the number of which is indicated on the accompanying
Registry Bill on the label of the sack and tag. Master Keys to the
said locks are in the custody of the Supervisor of the Registry Unit
of DC "D" and the receiving postmaster. A copy of the Registry Bill
for such mail matter is provided to the RPO Clerk-in-Charge.
Direct Pouches or Sealed Sacks (S/S) containing ordinary registered
letters, foreign and local checks, which are not opened but only
verified as to whether the condition of the bags are good or bad,
are brought to the mail truck accompanied by the Supervisor of the
Registry Unit of DC "D". Each of these pouches is counter checked,
counted and verified with the Registry Bill, a copy of which is
given to the RPO Clerk-in-Charge. In case such bag is damaged or
torn, the Registry Unit Supervisor will have to either change the
bag or repair it right on the spot, before the outgoing RPO Clerks
could accept them.
Marked Seal Press of the Registry Unit of DC "D" is used in sealing
each bag, the mark of which identifies the particular sealer and the
office of origin.
When everything had already been loaded to the Philippine mail truck
after all the checking and verifications, the truck then finally
goes to the Philippine National Railway Tutuban Station, where the
RPO car is located.
Inside the mail car of the RPO, we have three personnel working:
the Clerk-in-Charge, the Assistant Clerk-in-Charge and the Helper.
Mail bags delivered by truck from Central Post Office and
subsequently loaded into the mail coach of the PNR are sorted out
according to Post Office of destination and piled according to
groups and distribution scheme.
Registered mail, checks - foreign and local - that are contained in
exchange pouches along Way Offices are then opened and backstamped
by the RPO sorted out and put on
labeled mail bags and sealed again. All mail bags received from Way
Offices and mails directly dropped at the RPO mail box, are also
sorted out and backstamped by the RPO, and placed in corresponding
mail bags and dispatched to office of destinations.
The Clerk-in-Charge then accomplishes Registry Bill (BP Form No.
1570) for each post office of destination, marking down the Registry
Number, office of origin and destination, remarks, and the total
number of pieces per item. The number of ordinary, Special Delivery,
and the like are also recorded in the same Registry Bill.
Information on mail bags containing
ordinary mails are also transferred from Way Bill Form No. 104,
listing down the origin, the destination, the total number of sacks
and pouches, the date and hour of receipt for each bag.
Waybills are accomplished, in three copies:
1. one to be signed by the mail
messengers or contractors for file copy of the RPO;
2. one for the mail messenger or
contractor, the stub of which is to be signed by him and
returned to the RPO;
3. one copy to be enclosed in the
mail pouches for signature of the receiving office.
The Receiving Officer fills out, signs,
detaches, and returns the stub to the office of origin retaining the
body of the bill as his record. Should pieces of mail and/or the
mail bag be damaged or its contents found missing or lost, a full
report shall be forwarded with the waybill to the Postmaster
General, and the stub receipt of which is noted, signed and promptly
returned to the office of origin.
RPO Clerks usually enjoy a one-day off at the terminal office of
destination in Legaspi and in San Fernando, La Union. They return to
Manila the following day. On their way to Manila, they exchange mail
dispatches along the Way Offices and collect the bags intended for
Manila Distributing Center and those for Way Offices and other
postal regions and distributing centers. The turnover of mail bags
are classified as to:
1. Sealed Sacks
2. Ordinary Parcel Post
3. Air Mail Section - Manila International Airport (AMS-MIA)
4. Ordinary Sacks for Domestic Mail Section (DMS)
After receipt by the Receiving Clerks of
the DSMDC "D" the duplicate copy of the Master Waybill of the RPO
Clerks are signed, with the date and time of receipt also
indicated-on said waybills. This ends the routine but strenuous work
of the RPO.
FUNCTIONS OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE UNIT
Responsible for the delivery and collection of all mail
dispatches from all the Way Offices traversed by the
Philippine National Railways RPO Trains
511-512 (Manila-Legaspi) and RPO Trains
10-9 (Manila-San Fernando, La Union) including those handled by the Way Postal Agencies.
2. Supervises transportation of mails by trains and operation of all
Railway Post Offices.
3. Makes proper representations with railway officials on matters
affecting mail transportation by
4. Acts on payment of claims for the
carriage of mails by trains in accordance with the contract terms.
5. Conducts further studies to improve railway mail service.
6. To be responsible for the distribution and collection of mails
from the Provinces of Nueva Ecija, Nueva
Vizcaya, Isabela, Cagayan, and their respective
districts, which are to be delivered
and collected by means of privately owned Pantranco buses duly assigned by the Pantranco Management as per
contract with the Bureau of Posts for the purpose. (New
schedule took effect March 10, 1975).
7. Responsible for the delivery and collection of mails from the
provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, and Rizal,
which are delivered and collected by means of
Bureau of Posts trucks duly assigned
for the purpose.
8. Takes charge of the distribution and collection of mails to and
from Post Offices located within the
Island of Luzon, where transportation of mails may
be disrupted due to strike of mail
contractors or transportation companies, termination of contract derailment of trains
or for other causes.
Coordinates with the Motor Transport Division regarding the proper
assignment of vehicles to the Railway Mail Service Unit for its
regular use or for
emergency use when disruption of mail service occurs.
GENERAL FUNCTIONS OF ALL RAILWAY POST OFFICE PERSONNEL
1. Responsible for the receipt and dispatch to/from all Way Offices
traversed by the PNR RPO Trains
511-512 (Manila-Legaspi) and RPO Trains 10-9
(Manila-San Fernando, La Union),
of all mail dispatches from the Central Post Office.
2. Responsible for the receipt and dispatch of all mail dispatches
from the Regional Distributing Centers
along the way covered by RPO Trains 511-512,
and RPO Trains 10-9.
3. Responsible for the receipt, opening, sorting, routing, recording
of all mail matters found inside the mail
pouches received from the mail messengers of
the Way Offices along the
lines traversed by the RPO Trains and the dispatch of pouches for the Way Offices along
the same lines.
4. The Transfer Clerks are responsible for the receipt and dispatch
of mails from the Provinces of Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal.
Train Schedules RPO Line Nos. 10 & 09
Train Schedules RPO Line Nos. 511 & 512