An 11-day expedition that took congressmen along the nautical highway linking Manila to the southern part of the country will yield insights and baseline data that would be valuable in producing immediate executive and legislative action.
This was the assessment of Committee on Transportation chairman Cong. Cesar Sarmiento, who led the journey the other week together with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas and chairpersons of the public works and tourism committees and their members. The House contingent traveled along and inspected the country’s Western and Eastern Nautical Highways via land and RoRo ports from March 16 to 27 as a sign of the House leadership’s commitment to assess the adequacy, efficiency and safety of road, bridge and port networks.
The first-ever RoRo inspection is envisioned to improve the safety and convenience of the commuters, to determine and provide the missing links and infrastructures and to encourage economic growth in the countryside through tourism.
In his message during the committee meeting called mainly to focus on the preparations of land, maritime and aviation agencies for the upcoming Holy Week traffic, Cong. Sarmiento said the committee sought to know the plans of government agencies like the LTFRB, PPA, MARINA, PCG and MIAA to handle the great volume of passengers using the RORO system and the long queues, flight delays and cancellations at airports.
“In all of these, we want to see your commitment to the safety and convenience of our people. We exist to serve them. Let’s serve,” he stressed.
Personally thanking Alvarez and Fariñas for what he described as a reflection of how the House leadership values the importance of improving RP’s transportation system, Cong. Sarmiento said the 11-day expedition was a big success but the lessons they picked up during the trip should be applied.
“From SLEX to Batangas, to Mindoro, to Caticlan, to Kalibo, to Iloilo, to Bacolod, to Dumaguete, to Dapitan, to Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, to Cagayan de Oro, to Bukidnon, to Tagum City, to Davao City, then back to Manila through the Eastern Nautical Highway passing through Surigao, Leyte, Samar Island, Sorsogon, Legazpi, Albay and Quezon Province- in all of these land and sea routes, we have seen for ourselves a glimpse of what our people are going through and what could be done to improve the same for the convenience and safety of our passengers and for the growth of our local tourism,” said the Catanduanes solon.
Those valuable insights must be documented, he disclosed, and the committee should gather baseline date needed for immediate executive and legislative action such as the number of franchised vehicles per land route, their capacity and condition, the number of franchised vessels per sea route, their capacity and condition, and the capacity of our ports and terminal buildings and the condition of existing port
“With these data and the experience we had during the expedition, we can and we should come up with the needed development programs as regards our ports, our sea vessels and our land transport system,” Rep. Sarmiento stated.
“We already did half of the work when we saw and inspected for ourselves the nautical highways. It will be a big failure if the expedition will not translate to any improvement,” he emphasized.