Thousands stranded in Cebu City port ahead of polls

By: Jhunnex Napallacan May 07,2016 - 10:24 PM
Thousands of passengers who wanted to join on Monday’s poll in their respective provinces ended up stranded at the Cebu City ports because all the trips were fully-booked.(CDN PHOTO/JHUNNEX NAPALLACAN)

Frustrated passengers take their chances at the offices of the shipping firms whose schedules have been fully booked since last week. (CDN PHOTO/JHUNNEX NAPALLACAN)

THOUSANDS of passengers who wanted to vote in their provinces tomorrow ended up stranded at Cebu City ports since all boat trips were fully-booked.

Among them were five teachers who had attended a three-day seminar related to the conduct of the elections who could not buy tickets for Bohol.

“Tabangi ko sir, unsaon na lang ni nga mo-serve ra ba mi sa election (Help us sir, what do we do, we’re assigned to serve in the elections),” said 29-year-old Erwin Salutan, a private high school teacher in Tubigon assigned as vote-counting machine technician at San Agustin, Sagbayan, Bohol tomorrow.

Salutan said he and four other teachers attended a three-day seminar at the University of San Jose-Recoletos that ended yesterday afternoon.

When Salutan lined up to buy tickets for himself and his fellow teachers for Tubigon Bohol, he was told that all the trips that day had been fully-booked by noontime.

Salutan also tried the Lite Shipping Co. which had 7 p.m. and 12 midnight trips for Tubigon, Bohol, but these were also fully-booked.

Hundreds of passengers were also waiting in front of the ticketing office of Starcraft Shipping, hoping that the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) would allow special trips for Tubigon, Bohol.

The staff of Starcraft said many passengers lined up at dawn just to buy tickets for Bohol.

The surge of passengers could be attributed to tomorrow’s elections.

A male passenger shouted, “Mouli gyod mi kay sayang ang uwan-uwan (I will go home because it would be a waste not to receive money),” referring to the usual practice of vote-buying during elections.

At the Ocean Fast Ferries Corp. ticketing office, hundreds of passengers were also waiting to get tickets for the Oceanjet trips to Tagbilaran, Bohol and Ormoc City, Leyte.

But security guard Ramil Soroño said all trips for Tagbilaran City that day were fully-booked, along with the first trip on Sunday. Oceanjet has 11 trips for Tagbilaran in a day.

Soroño said their six trips for Ormoc yesterday were fully-booked since Friday and their available trips will be at 1 p.m. today and onward.

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