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Arroyo pushes missionary routes to expand RORO system.

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

In a move to expand the Roll-on, Roll-off (Ro-Ro) transportation system, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has asked the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to define as missionary route the unserved Ro-Ro ports in the country.

She made the recommendation during the House Committee on Transportation oversight hearing on the status of Ro-Ro projects on Wednesday.

The former President also noted that there is no need for Malacanang to issue an executive order (EO) to define unserved Ro-Ro ports as missionary route.

Arroyo said MARINA should review its 10-Year Maritime Industry Development Program (MIDP), which showed that there are remaining 30 routes that are still unserved and are part of the MIDP to be covered and developed.

"This plan addresses the routes without a vessel so we will see whether it's because of the vessels or because of the ports not being in proper condition to receive or send off vessels," she said, noting that such routes were from her time and her master plan.

As she went over the list of 30 unserved routes, the Speaker sought the exclusion from the list of unserved ports for reasons such as the operation of another nearby port; the absence of a vessel; the convenience to travel by land; and for the environment factor, like the presence of butanding in the case of Pilar, Sorsogon, among others.

Arroyo recalled that her administration granted the missionary route incentive when nobody wanted to take the Dumaguete to Dapitan route.

"The incentive we gave for the operator was that it's a missionary route and they were given the privilege of being the sole operator for five years," she said.

During the hearing, Department of Transportation (DoTr) Undersecretary Fernando Juan Perez informed the panel that they granted missionary route before when there was no vessel plying the Manila-to-Davao route.

He reported to the panel that from 2003 to 2010, there were 49 Ro-Ro operators but during the period 2010 to 2016, there were no new Ro-Ro operators.

The previous Arroyo administration was able to construct 49 RORO routes from Luzon to Mindanao. However, most of the RORO projects approved during Mrs. Arroyo's time were cancelled by the Aquino administration.

"However, during 2016 to the present, there were new 18 operators. This brings to a total of 67 RoRo operators," Perez said.

CAPTION(S):

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jan 24, 2019
Words:394
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