GMA seeks to improve ro-ro transport system
Cebu City, Philippines – House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has sought to improve the roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) transport system, a project she spearheaded when she was president from 2001 to 2010.
In a hearing held at the Cebu Ports Authority in Cebu City on Monday, February 18, 2019, Arroyo listened to the predicaments of stakeholders who gave suggestions on how to minimise the cost of transportation of the Ro-Ro project.
“There have been achievements just like the opening of new routes but there are issues that we need to address (to improve its services),” she said in a brief interview after the hearing spearheaded by the House Transportation Committee.
Among the suggestions were letting the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) weigh the trucks and its goods to minimise the cost of transportation.
“That’s why we need to call another hearing that will include the truckers and the DPWH,” Arroyo said.
“The reason why we put up Ro-Ro system is we want to put down the cost of transporting goods from Mindanao to the Visayas and Mindanao, and we hope to continue that,” she added.
Present during the committee hearing in Cebu were House Transportation Committee Chairman Cesar Sarmiento, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s North District, and Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa of Cebu City’s South District.
Sarmiento requested all stakeholders who have suggestions to send a memorandum to make formal their concerns.
“We will continue to hear how to improve the Ro-Ro system, which is the backbone of this archipelagic country,” he said.
In 2003, Arroyo lined up the P15-billion Greater Maritime Access (GMA) Ro-Ro project as one of the flagship programs which sought to build 72 ports across the country.
The Ro-Ro system was among the Arroyo administration’s 919-kilometer Strong Republic Nautical Highway that was meant to connect the major islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao through an integrated network of highway and vehicular ferry routes.
But the administration of Benigno Aquino III canceled 66 of the 72 Ro-Ro projects due for construction, saying these were “sources of corruption” for supposedly being overpriced.
Arroyo said she was happy that the Duterte administration decided to revive the aborted Ro-Ro projects. /bmjo
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