If ICTSI can build ro-ro terminal for containers, why can’t DOTR build world-class ferry service in Pasig River?
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said Transportation Secretary Art Tugade should forget about private firms reviving the 26-kilometer Pasig River as an alternative public transport corridor that would help ease road congestion.
Campos said Department of Transportation (DOTr) itself should move in and operate the water buses along the river using low-cost funding from China.
“Since nobody from the private sector is prepared to establish a permanent ferry service, then the government itself, through the DOTr, should acquire and run the commuter boats,” Campos, a deputy minority leader, said.
“While we are fighting motor vehicle traffic jams, we simply cannot ignore the fact that the Pasig River freeway is always there for us to harness as a means to efficiently convey commuters,” Campos said.
The lawmaker said the new water bus project could finally drive the restoration of the Pasig River to its “historically pristine condition conducive to transport, recreation and tourism.”
Camposcited the country’s first roll-on roll-off (RORO) barge terminal in Tanza, Cavite that would pave the way for the off-the-road water transport of containers.
Once the Cavite Gateway Terminal (CGT) is up and running, barges and tugboats will use Manila Bay to move containers between the Port of Manila and Cavite special economic zone locators, thus resulting in 140,000 fewer trucks trips on city roads every year.
The CGT is a P1.5-billion joint project of the DOTr and International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), operator of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).
Campos asked the Department of Finance (DOF), together with the DOTr, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), to include a new Pasig River Water Bus Project in the next batch of ventures for Chinese concessional funding.
Beijing has so far pledged some $7.34 billion in grants and low-interest loans to be spent mostly on building new infrastructure in Manila, the DOF said.
Previous ferry services along the Pasig River were short-lived after private operators sustained financial losses.
The MMDA has since been running an improvised and limited ferry service.