By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong’ Go has called on key government agencies to make sure that the newly re-opened Pasig River Ferry Service remains comfortable and convenient for passengers.
In a meeting the other day, Go also asked these agencies to keep the river clean, and guarantee the safe and smooth journey for commuters.
“I implore agency heads to make sure that the ferry services will be convenient and comfortable for the people,” Go said. He is chairman of the Senate health committee.
The Pasig River Ferry Service was revived in 2014 to alleviate traffic congestion in the burgeoning Metro Manila.
In April 2018, President Duterte approved a proposal to institutionalize the Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program which includes plans to build 17 more stations for the Pasig River ferry system in the next four years. There are currently 12 stations.
At present, the transport service is being operated by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is responsible for the dredging operations in the Pasig River.
The ferry service has a current fleet of seven boats.
Several local government units (LGUs) and private companies have also committed to donate additional ferries.
Go also suggested that the ferry services be subsidized by the government for one year to provide more affordable fares for the commuters.
So that people can avoid traffic, we will put additional ferries. We have already started operations; we have the ferry boats; fare is free until the end of January, he said.
To ensure that the river stays clean, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) was tasked to monitor discharges from nearby factories and issue violation receipts to rule breakers.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will also be tapped to enjoin barangay (villages) to maintain the cleanliness of the environment surrounding the river.