MMDA says P200M needed to remove 2 rocks from potential ferry terminal
MANILA, Philippines – How much would it cost to remove two rocks from a potential ferry terminal along the Pasig River?
P200 million, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) told senators on Wednesday, September 25, during a hearing on its proposed budget for 2020.
The topic was brought up when Senator Francis Tolentino – himself a former chairperson of the MMDA – proposed to expand the Pasig River Ferry route to Libis, Eastwood, in Quezon City. The problem was, there are two boulders standing in the route, and need to be removed.
Tolentino said removing them would have been easy. "Kung tinipak 'yun ng mga preso sa BuCor baka masira na," he said, referring to how prisoners attempt to escape. (If you have sent BuCor prisoners to crack them, the job would have been done.)
MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia told the senators that the agency had been requesting a budget to remove the rocks for two years already.
Senate committee on finance chair Sonny Angara inquired how much they would need to remove the rocks, and Garcia replied it would cost P200 million.
Angara was taken aback: "Tatanggal lang ng dalawang bato? Anong klaseng bato 'yan? (P200 million just to remove two rocks? What kind of rocks are those?)"
Garcia said the Department of Public Works and Highways would be responsible for it: "It's not us, I think [it's] DPWH."
When Angara asked if they didn't have the capacity to remove the rocks themselves, Garcia explained that the area needs total dredging in order to remove the rocks.
The committee also discussed the current status of the Pasig River ferry system, and Garcia said they were still waiting for the National Economic and Development Authority to release a feasibility study before they started working on improvements.
In the past, the government also planned to add more boats and terminals to the ferry system. This could serve as an alternative mode of transport, considering the worsening traffic congestion in Metro Manila's roads.
Currently, 11 ferries are in operation, each having a capacity of 30-50 passengers. – Rappler.com