Prompt action needed on PPA Tabaco’s callousness: “Ngimon.”
posted 3-Feb-2019  ·  
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This colorful word in the local dialect best describes the management of the Philippine Ports Authority in Tabaco port.

In a move that surprised long-time sea commuters, the port management ordered the personnel of the Regina Shipping Lines, Bicolandia Shipping Lines and Cardinal Shipping Lines to vacate the ticketing booths inside the passenger terminal and transferred them to the PPA office building just beside the main gate of the port.

It likewise directed that beginning Feb. 1, 2019, passenger buses, vans and taxis would no longer be allowed to enter the sprawling port and, instead, would have to drop their passengers and their baggages right at the gate.

From there, the tired and sleepless travelers – from the elderly and young children to people with disabilities – would need to line up to buy their ferry tickets and then face a hundred-meter walk to the terminal itself where the port police and the terminal fee sellers are now ensconced in comfort.

These callous and insensitive decisions made by the PPA officials, and the fact that passengers, particularly those who arrive after midnight up to 5 A.M., are no longer allowed to sleep or wait until morning inside the terminal the government built for them, deserve no less than condemnation from local officials in Catanduanes.

The PPA management should be taken to task for adding to the burden of sea commuters who have endured half-a-day of travel from Metro Manila. For years now, Catandunganons have put up with the P30 terminal fee charged by the Tabaco Port and Cargo Corporation managing the terminal building, despite most users passing through the hall in just a minute before they go out into the pier to go aboard the ferry.

Terminal users have not been getting the value of their money, as the existing PTB has not been restored to its original condition, including the use of the expensive X-ray machines and the adequate maintenance of the comfort rooms.

If the PPA’s goal in privatizing the passenger terminal buildings in the ports it manages is to give passengers convenience, comfort and security in their travel, then it has sorely failed in Tabaco port.

To be fair, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Catanduanes and the Sangguniang Bayan of Virac has proven their mettle as far as fighting for the sea-traveling public is concerned, with both legislative bodies even sending members to PPA hearings on terminal fee increases in the past.

What is now urgently needed is for the honorable members of both Sanggunians to pass measures addressing the situation in Tabaco port and calling on the provincial chief executive to immediately make representations with PPA Tabaco regarding the matter.

Much higher expectations rests with Congressman Cesar Sarmiento as he chairs the House Committee on Transportation, having brought the entire committee membership on a two-week journey in visiting the major ports along the North and South overland and ferry routes of the country two years ago.

The public now awaits the prompt action of their elected leaders who have sworn to serve them. Otherwise, Catandunganons, including the nearly 200,000 registered voters, would be forced to lump local politicians with the PPA Tabaco management who are regrettably “ngimon.”

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