PGMA launches Eastern Seaboard portion of SRNH in Surigao City

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched the eastern seaboard portion of her Strong Republic National Highway (SRNH) in festive ceremonies held this morning at the Verano Port here.

Joining the President in the historic occasion were Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Transportation Undersecretary for Maritime Transport Thompson Lantion, Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chief Alberto Suansing and local executives of the province led by Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Cassura.

The President and her entourage arrived here on board the Presidential yacht BRP Pag-asa at around 9:50 a.m. amid loud drumbeats, dancing and cheers from the residents and constituents of the province who came to welcome the Chief Executive.

Upon her arrival, the President was briefed by Mendoza on the salient features of the newly-upgraded Verano port after which she unveiled the project’s marker to signal the formal opening of the port to commercial and public operations.

The "enhanced leg" of the oldest roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) route comprises 919 kilometers of land route and 137 nautical miles of the SRNH Eastern Seaboard trunkline.

The decision to launch a new alternate route in the Eastern Seaboard route was made during the President’s Cabinet meeting in May last year on board a Ro-Ro vessel from Jagna Port in Bohol to Mambajao in Camiguin, which forms part of the SRNH Central Seaboard trunkline.

The new Eastern Seaboard route starts from Pilar, Sorsogon and runs through Masbate City and Esperanza town in Masbate, traverses Naval and Maripipi towns in Biliran province, San Ricardo in Southern Leyte and ends in Lipata, Surigao City in Surigao del Norte.

The old route, which forms part of the Maharlika Highway, also known as the Pan-Pacific National Highway, was constructed during the time of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

The oldest Ro-Ro highway, the Maharlika was the first highway that connected Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This portion of the Ro-Ro highway starts from Matnog in Sorsogon, passes through Allen and Dapdap in Northern Samar, Liloan in Leyte and Lipata in Surigao.

The Maharlika Highway link is expected to be further enhanced with the launching of the new Eastern Nautical Highway. The linkup of the two highway systems is expected to further spur trade and commerce between and among the islands not covered by the old Maharlika Highway.

With this new Ro-Ro facility, shipments to and from the province are no longer off-loaded for re-transporting, thereby reducing cargo-handling time and stevedoring costs and, consequently, ensuring better quality and lower prices of goods.

The SRNH eastern seaboard portion joins two other operational SRNH routes: the Western and Central routes.

The SRNH western seaboard portion, which was launched in March 2003, starts from Batangas down to Zamboanga del Norte.

The sea linkages of the first Ro-Ro route include Batangas, Calapan and Roxas in Oriental Mindoro, Caticlan in Aklan, Iloilo to Bacolod and Dumaguete and finally Dapitan.

The Central, or the second Ro-Ro route which was lauched three months after the first one in June 2003, covers the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete and Manila.

This "long-haul" route begins with separate land segments from Davao, a leading fruit producer; General Santos, which is noted for its corn and tuna products, and passes through Bukidnon, the livestock and salad bowl of Mindanao.

The 30-hour sea voyage starts from Cagayan de Oro City thence to the Visayas through Dumaguete and continues on to Southern Luzon and Bicol through Batangas City and finally ends in the port of Manila.

Surigao Today

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