Former President and now House Speaker, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is pushing for the revival and expansion of the Roll-On-Roll-Off (RoRo) transport system, a project she spearheaded when she was President.
She made the statement during her visit to attend the 11th anniversary of the Bacolod Silay airport, which was built and inaugurated during her administration in 2007, a press release from her office said.
She narrated that she was saddened a few years ago when she heard that many of the RORO projects were canceled or discontinued.
“We built many RORO ports all over the country but mostly in the Visayas, and I was so sad to hear a few years ago that the administration after mine discontinued the rest of the RORO port projects,” she said.
Noting the RORO system’s proven importance in travel and trade and tourism, Arroyo said she will convene an oversight committee in the House of Representatives to determine the status of the country’s ports and how to improve them.
“When I go back to Manila, I am going to convene the oversight committee for the RORO, with the help of the PPA (Philippine Ports Authority) and the DOTr (Department of Transportation), to compare the old ADB (Asian Development Bank) study with the projects that had been canceled and see what should be revived,” she said in the press release.
In 2003, then President Arroyo spearheaded the creation of the Road RoRo Transport System (RRTS), a project designed to carry rolling stock cargo that does not require cranes for loading. The system was part of the 919-kilometer Strong Republic Nautical Highway that connected the major islands of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao through an integrated network of highway and vehicular ferry routes, the press release said.
It was one of her administration’s priority programs to ensure fast and economical movement of goods and people, and to boost domestic tourism and trade, it said.
The Asian Development Bank, which had proposed the project, had said the RORO system cut the cost of the transport system and travel time in the Philippines.
Arroyo noted that the RORO system has helped lower the poverty level in the country. “When I assumed the Presidency, the survey said 39 percent of all Filipinos were very poor. I believe the RRTS has helped a lot to lift up some of the very poor from extreme poverty, as they were able to find jobs and now have some money to buy food and other necessities,” she said.
Her administration was able to construct vital RORO routes from Luzon to Mindanao. However, the Aquino administration canceled most of the RORO projects approved during her time.
The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte had decided to revitalize the RORO system, citing its importance to trade and tourism, the press release said.
From Bacolod, Arroyo took a RORO ferry to Dumangas, Iloilo to experience once again the RRTS and see what can be done to improve the system. She then attended a briefing on the status of the RORO ports, when she arrived in Dumangas.
Arroyo also conducted an ocular inspection of the road networks connecting the RORO system to determine their condition and what still needs to be done to improve the system, the press release added.*
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