FORMER President now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pressed the administration to revive and expand the Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) transport system.
During an ocular inspection, Arroyo was disappointed to learn that some RORO ports were already discontinued or canceled.
This kind of transport system was close to Arroyo’s heart because it was she who spearheaded it during her presidency.
Arroyo yesterday attended the 11th anniversary of the Bacolod Silay airport, which was built and inaugurated during her administration in 2007.
“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.
“Note the RORO system’s proven importance in travel and trade and tourism,” she added.
Because of this Arroyo plans to convene an Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives on the RORO program 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 because with the help of the PPA (Philippine Ports Authority) and the DoTr (Department o Transportation) to compare the old ADB (Asian Development Bank) study with what are the the projects that had been canceled and see what should be revived,” she said.
In Silay, Speaker Arroyo was welcomed by Rep. Stephen Paduano, Negros Occidental Governor Fred Maranon, Silay Mayor Mark Golez, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco and officials from the Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Coast Guard and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In 2003, then President Arroyo spearheaded the creation of the Road RoRo Transport System, 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, Visayas and Mindanao through an integrated network of highway and vehicular ferry routes.
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.
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.
“When I assumed the Presidency, the survey said 39 percent of all Filipinos were very poor. I believe that 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.