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RoRo gets big boost

The Duterte government has granted P358 million to Cebu’s San Fernando, which is being groomed as part of a new nautical highway route directly connecting Southern Luzon to Northern Mindanao.

House Deputy Majority Leader and Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. said the funding allocation for the 919-kilometer nautical highway has been included in the House-approved 2017 P3.35-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“The San Fernando Port in Cebu is getting P358 million in fresh funding to complete the central backbone of roll-on and roll-off (RoRo) ferry services,” he said.

The Cebu seaport in the Municipality of San Fernando will connect Batangas in Luzon and Misamis Oriental in Mindanao via Oriental Mindoro, Aklan, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Bohol and Camiguin.

Gullas said the Cebu Port Authority, which is attached to the Department of Transportation will handle the port development project.

“The San Fernando Port in Barangay South Poblacion will soon be able to efficiently receive and dispatch RoRo ferry services,” Gullas said.

The new nautical highway path will pass by ports in Batangas City in Batangas; Calapan City and the Municipality of Roxas in Oriental Mindoro; the Municipality of Malay in Aklan; the Municipality of Dumangas in Iloilo; Bacolod City and San Carlos City in Negros Occidental; and then through docks in Toledo City and San Fernando in Cebu.

From San Fernando, the maritime highway will go through piers in the Municipalities of Tubigon and Jagna in Bohol; the Municipalities of Mambajao and Mahinog in Camiguin; and then finally stop at harbors in the Municipality of Balingoan and Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental.

“The new route is expected to cut in a big way travel time by land and sea from Southern Luzon to Northern Mindanao,” Gullas said.

He expressed hope that the facelift of the San Fernando Port as nautical highway hub would boost economic activity as well as provide livelihood opportunities, particularly for low-income families.

Gullas adds the 919-kilometer nautical highway will speed up the countrywide inter-island transfer of motor vehicles, passengers and goods using RoRo boats. (Charissa M. Luci)