New ferry system eyed to ease traffic

THE Transport department is studying a public-private partnership project on the ferryboat system between Manila and Laguna to decongest road traffic going to southern Luzon.

Transport Secretary Jose de Jesus told the Manila Standard that the transport agency has already created a group that will work on the feasibility study of the ferry service from Intramuros in Manila to Laguna via Laguna de Bay.

(PHOTO) Not Actual Ferry

“We are going to start a feasibility study on the project soon. So, if we find it feasible, then we will include it in the list of PPP projects,” De Jesus said.

He said the agency wants to provide the public with another transportation option going to Laguna, which can result in the decongestion of traffic on the expressways.

“The highway is already available, it only needs to be developed,” De Jesus said.

He said the model being looked at now is to have the government construct the stations located strategically between Manila and Laguna and link it with the main transport system such as major roads, and Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit stations, while the provision of vessels, operation, and maintenance will be subject to public bidding.

“We will also determine if the fare levels will be competitive and affordable compared with other means of transportation,” De Jesus explained.

Architect Felino Palafox Jr. earlier said a ferry system in Laguna de Bay could be opened to provide residents with an alternative mode of transport.

Palafox said a primary station could be opened in Taguig City connecting to routes fanning out to Binangonan, Taytay and Angono in Rizal, and to San Pedro and Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Counterpart Laguna stations would serve Cabuyao, Calamba, Los Banos, Sta. Cruz, and Sinoloan, Laguna, and Rizal’s Jalajala and Tanay dovetailing into the Pasig River transport system to access Manila Bay.

In July, Dimitry Dutillex, Asia manager of Baggerwerken Decloedt en Zoon North, said the P18.7-billion rehabilitation package was approved by the National Economic Development Authority based on earlier studies made by the firm.

But Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares III has opposed the deal which he said is funded by a loan from Fortis Bank of Belgium.

“Dredging the lake today is useless unless the environmental issues in the Laguna Lake region are addressed,” Ynares said, noting massive denudation of forests in surrounding localities alongside dumping of household, agricultural and industrial wastes through its 21 tributaries.