Duterte’s approval of EO on Pasig River ferry rehab sought
The Department of Budget and Management is seeking the President’s approval of a draft executive order that will institutionalize the Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program in line with the government’s plan to establish an alternative means of transportation connecting Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay by 2022.
The draft executive order also pushes for the creation of an interagency committee composed of 10 agencies chaired by the budget secretary and cochaired by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) head to administer and implement the program.
The eight other agencies are the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Government, Public Works and Highways, Tourism, and Transportation, as well as the Laguna Lake Development Authority, National Economic and Development Authority, and Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.
A technical working group composed of the 10 agencies will also be formally established to assist the interagency committee in properly implementing the convergence program.
“The underutilization of the Pasig River as an alternate, reliable and efficient means of nautical transport given the severe traffic problems calls for the revival of the Pasig River ferry services as a viable option to decongest traffic in Metro Manila,” the DBM said.
In a recent Cabinet meeting, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the DBM proposal to institutionalize the Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program but it can be implemented only through an EO.
17 more stations eyed
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno told reporters that the government would bid out the contract to operate the Pasig River ferry system to a private firm by midyear.
At the same time, agencies will build an additional 17 stations on top of the existing 12 stations in the next four years to serve up to 76,800 passengers a day.
At present, the MMDA runs the ferry system which offers very few operating ferries without air-conditioning while the stations are in need of repairs.
Diokno said that by 2022, they wanted at least 24 air-conditioned ferries, each with a capacity of 50 seats, serving the Pasig River route.
“The plan is really to have a comfortable, predictable and reliable ferry system because right now what we have is kind of spotty — we don’t know whether they will come on schedule. So the plan is to have a ferry system that is regular — every 15 minutes, and comfortable,” he added.
“We want it to be competitive with buses, jeepneys and Grab, as this is convenient—there will be no traffic in the Pasig River. When you leave Marikina, within 45 minutes, you’ll be somewhere in Binondo—there’s no congestion… Even under severe weather, they can operate, unlike other means of transportation,” he said.
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