Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged concerned government agencies to make sure that the newly re-opened Pasig River Ferry Service remains convenient and comfortable for commuters during a meeting on Tuesday, January 7. The senator also asked the agencies to improve the cleanliness of the river to guarantee safe and smooth journey for passengers.
“I implore agency heads to make sure that the ferry services will be convenient and comfortable for the people,” Go said.
“Please make sure na malinis ang ferry service at smooth ang experience ng mga sasakay. Magtulungan rin tayo na linisin ang ating mga ilog para mas maayos ang experience ng bawat pasahero,” he added.
After experiencing decline in the previous decades due to the pollution of the river, the Pasig River Ferry Service was revived in 2014 to alleviate traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
In April 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte approved a proposal to institutionalize the Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program which includes plans to build seventeen more stations for the Pasig River ferry system in the next four years, from the current twelve stations.
The transport service is presently operated by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is responsible for the dredging operations in Pasig River.
In past interviews, Go has expressed his willingness to push for the provision of additional boats.
“Kung kailangan pa pong madagdagan pa ang mga ferry, very much willing akong tumulong sa inyo,” Go said.
Currently, the ferry service has a fleet of seven boats. Several local government units and private companies have also committed to donate additional ferries.
Meanwhile, Go also suggested during the meeting that the ferry services be subsidized by the government for one year to provide more affordable fares for the commuters. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) agreed, saying that they will pool funds for said subsidy.
“Pinakiusapan din po natin na gawing until January 31 ang libreng pamasahe nito o hangga’t kaya ng budget ng MMDA. I urge the MMDA and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) na maging libre ito o maging minimal ang bayad dahil nakakatulong talaga ito sa ating mga mamamayan,” Go said in past interviews.
“Para iwas sa trapik, dagdagan natin ‘ung ferry. Meron na tayong binuksan, mayroon na tayong ferry boats, libre hanggang katapusan (ng January) pero pagkatapos niyan, sisiguraduhin namin ni Pangulo na as much as possible, ‘yung at cost lang ang babayaran para kayo makatipid sa gastos at makatipid rin sa panahon.
“Asahan ninyo na full support ako rito at kung papaano magiging mas maayos at komportable ang transportation service na ito para mapakinabangan ng mga Pilipino,” he added.
To ensure cleanliness of the river, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) was tasked to monitor discharges from nearby factories and issue violation receipts to rule breakers.
For a more holistic approach, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will also be tapped to enjoin barangays in maintaining the cleanliness of the environment surrounding the river.
Go reminded residents of Metro Manila, however, that keeping Pasig River clean is a shared responsibility of everyone.
“Lilinisan din natin ‘ung Pasig River pero importante na magtulungan tayo at maging disiplinado, ‘wag tayong magtapon,” the senator said.