Saturday, April 26, 2008

Philippine President's Time in Bohol Island

Reported by Rey Anthony Chiu
Philippine Information Agency - Bohol

After setting up P278M port links in the last seven years for Bohol alone, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) comes Thursday, April 29 to personally lead the caravan that would make history by uniting Cebu, Bohol, Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro in one nautical highway.

  By opening the Central Seaboard (CS) of the country's Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), inter-island travel and transport in the Visayas and Mindanao becomes one step away.

  In Bohol, the two key ports, the one in Tubigon and another one in Jagna have been upgraded with roll-on roll off (RORO) ramps and corresponding back up areas and lighting systems to better serve vessels cruising to and from Cebu City and the different ports of Mindanao, says a report from the Tagbilaran Port Office of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

  At the Tubigon Port, where PGMA inaugurates the improved facility, she would meet the RORO caravan with the rest of the country's top officials and accompanying media taking the run through the newly opened CS of the SRNH.

  The country's top executive arrives however on a helicopter to meet the caravan she sent off in Cebu earlier as the RORO docks at the port facility which has seen P144M improvements since 2002. 


  According to reports by Engr. Rogelio Gambuta, Tagbilaran ports operations manager, the port of Tubigon has had P42.2M rehabilitation in its reinforced concrete pier in 2002, P69.8M causeway reclamation and widening in 2004, P10.76M causeway repairs and improvements in 2005 and improvement of the old reclamation site costing P10.94M completed last year. 

  The improvements also include 2 ramps that can together accommodate 2 RORO vessels at any given time. Moreover, the port also has a truck holding area of 1,300 square meters that can hold a maximum of 15 units of rolling cargoes, his reports stated.

  He also added that since the implementation of the SRNH, his office noted an increasing trend in RORO shipcalls and a corresponding number of rolling cargoes passed through the port.

  Gambuta too explained that recent statistics his office gathered could only mean that a wider business sector acceptance of the roro transport system as a mode of economic inter-island activity has come.

  The PPA observation, Tubigon port laborers pointed out, is only as far as Cebu-Bohol is concerned. 

  Hopes however ignite with the President personally signaling the full operation of yet another RORO route, one that makes inter-island shipping to Camiguin in Mindanao a reality.

  After the ceremonial port inauguration and briefing on the SRNH in Tubigon, the President leads the caravan's land trip segment to an exit port in Jagna, about 117 kilometers from Tubigon via Tagbilaran City.


  The port of Jagna has also received a total of P144M since 2003.

  The port went through a total rehabilitation, got a terminal office, passenger terminal building, warehouse, guardhouse and deflector wall in 2003 via the government's P15.02M fund, Gambuta said.

  In 2005, a P19.53M RORO ramp, back up area, lighting system and fences were installed, while phase I of the port improvement project was started with aP54.6M project in 2006.

  Now, the port has an ongoing phase II of its improvement with P55.27M fund.

  Its RORO port equipped with a truick holding area of 3,000 square meters can hold a total of 35 rolling cargo units, would be serving vessels from various ports in Mindanao, PPA said. 

  In Jagna, the country's cabinet secretaries meet the President's caravan and join her on board another RORO sailing to Mambajao, Camiguin, the seaboard's next port in the link to Mindanao.

President GMA visits Bohol Province

By Rey Anthony Chiu
Philippine Information Agency

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) breezes through Bohol on Tuesday, April 29 to fill a leg of journey that would finally connect key ports in the country's central seaboard.

This happens as she leads the inauguration rites of the Central Seaboard of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH).

The SRNH, the Administration's brain child involves funding the putting up of Roll-on, Roll-off (RoRo) ports system aimed at perking up inter-island farm trade.

The SRNH also hopes to improve flow and distribution of basic goods and services, reduce travel time and transportation costs as well as promote domestic tourism.

Set in the Central Philippines, thus Central Seaboard, the government funded key improvement projects on intricate network of roads and ports in various regions in Luzon and the Visayas to Mindanao to finally unite the country's three main islands groups.

While the country has a backbone Maharlika highway that connects Luzon to Mindanao, travel of unprocessed farm goods by land has put up huge losses, one that makes it not as economically viable option for farmers, shippers have complained.
With the SRNH opening up its Central seaboard, the delivery of basic goods and farm produce like vegetables and livestock is easier, more economical and efficient as travel time and costs to and from destinations are considerably reduced, government sources said.
With the Central Seaboard opened, travelers and farm produce from the north going to the south can now take the Bulan Sorsogon to Masbate City ferry, then motor to Cawayan, Masbate where a ferry is again available for Bogo, Cebu. 

From Bogo, it would be a land trip to Cebu City where the port has a ferry to Tubigon, Bohol.

In Tubigon, Bohol, one can take the land trip to Jagna Bohol where one exits Bohol to Mambajao Camiguin, and then to Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental. 

In Bohol, the Presidential convoy would be met by well wishers by the roadsides, banners, streamers with the famed presidential brands "Labanan ang Kahirapan" and "Ramdam ang Kaunlaran."

As early as Saturday, April 26, posters have been noted along Bohol's coastal roads where the caravan is slated to pass. 

The president's party would be passing through Tubigon, Calape, Loon, Maribojoc, Cortes, Tagbilaran, Baclayon, Alburquerque, Loay, Lila, Dimiao, Valencia, Garcia-Hernandez to Jagna, while going through about a little more than a hundred kilometers of highway also known as the Bohol Circumferential Road Improvement Projects.  

The President in her previous speeches had pointed out that aside from the convenience of shorter travel times offered to travelers with the routes of the SRNH, spoilage of farm produce has been lessened which in turn has translated to larger income for farmers.
She also said that the increase of visitors to the various tourist spots around the country is also a by-product of the SRNH. 

She noted that local and foreign tourist have been enticed to take the "scenic" route on their way to the country's numerous tourists destinations.
According to the President, the SRNH is a good example of where increased revenue collections from the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) Law has gone to good use.
Meanwhile, just as the President takes the inaugural run, sectors especially in the transport industry have openly lobbied for support to the SRNH.

"There is great investment opportunity and potential in the Road RoRo Terminal System component of the SRNH," a President of a key government financial facility said. 

"I would like to encourage our stakeholders; the shipbuilders, local government units, and private sector investors; to avail of financing opportunities, he pressed.

Moreover, the Development Bank of the Philippines is putting up its Sustainable Logistics Development Program (SLDP) which is intended to modernize the processing, storage, delivery, and the distribution of grain harvest and perishable goods of traders and farmers from Mindanao and Luzon.