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. (rachiu/PIA)