MANILA — Senator Sonny Angara said on Thursday there is the need to revive the Pasig River ferry service as an alternative for commuters to ease the traffic congestion problem in Metro Manila.
Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, said efforts should be made to make the ferry system financially buoyant again, noting that next year’s proposed PHP74-million government subsidy to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for running a ferry along parts of the Pasig River’s original 15-kilometer service route “is clearly not enough.“
Angara said a master plan with yearly expansion, funding, and performance targets is required to revive the service, adding that he is open to increasing the subsidy for its operations.
“We are open to increasing the subsidy if the MMDA can submit a program on where the additional subsidy would be spent,” Angara said.
The senator said a maritime highway that is wider than the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) should be fully optimized given the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
He said the Pasig ferry subsidy for a whole year is worth only five days to subsidize MRT-3 operations.
“Yang PHP74 million na proposed subsidy for 2020, may nakapagsabi na limang kilometro lang ‘yan ng asphalt overlay sa isang lane ng Edsa (The PHP74 million proposed subsidy for 2020 is just equivalent to five kilometers of asphalt overlay in one Edsa lane),” Angara added.
He cited that in August 2016, the Department of Transportation pegged at PHP2.65 billion the cost of 20 new 100-passenger vessels, rehabilitating 10 passenger terminals, and annual river dredging. Filane Mikee Cervantes / PNA – northboundasia.com