By Emmie V. Abadilla
As the single maritime administration in the Philippines that establishes routes, zones and areas of operations of domestic ship operators, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is batting for the reopening of passenger shipping operations to serve the Manila-Iloilo-Zamboanga-General Santos-Davao routes.
The reopening of these ship routes will be a cheaper transport option for passengers.
A one-way air trip ticket from Manila bound for Davao City in Mindanao and vice versa costs between P3,000–P 5,000. On the other hand, a sea trip ticket serving the Manila-Mindanao passenger ship routes, like Manila to Davao, costs P2,600.
In fact, after the 2GO Group Inc. submitted an application for the reopening of the Manila-Mindanao passenger ship routes, Marina issued a special permit allowing the operation of a passenger ship of the Negros Navigation Company Inc., a holding company of the 2GO Group Inc., to serve the routes from October 21-31, 2018 to cater to passengers for the Halloween holidays.
This is while the 2GO vessel meant to officially serve the routes is still undergoing final repairs and while the shipping company waits for the result of the hearing before it is issued with its Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).
The Marina initiative was in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s objective of providing a safe, convenient and comfortable transportation for passengers living in far-flung areas.
The agency continues to work in order to bring more passenger shipping services to unserved coastal areas in the country where sea transport is needed for the movement of people, goods, and services.