Arroyo bats for improvement of Ro-Ro transport system
CEBU CITY – 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.
In a hearing held at the Cebu Ports Authority in Cebu City on Monday, Arroyo listened to predicaments of stakeholders who suggested ways to minimize the cost of transportation under 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 led 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 minimize 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 Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, House committee chair on transportation; 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 to send a memorandum to formalize 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 her administration’s flagship programs that sought to build 72 ports across the country.
The Ro-Ro system was part of 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 S. 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 the Duterte administration decided to revive the aborted Ro-Ro projects. /kga
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