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DBP approves P9.59-B fund for Roro projects

SIARGAO ISLAND, Surigao del Norte—State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has approved the deployment of a total of P9.59 billion for projects under its Road Roll-On, Roll-Off Terminal System (RRTS), president and chief executive officer Reynaldo David said on Thursday

The RRTS is a major component of the DBP’s Sustainable Logistics Development Program (SLDP) that is aimed at modernizing the country’s infrastructure and logistics system for the efficient transport of passengers and basic commodities.

The bank said another 41 projects totaling P5.86 billion were under evaluation.

Of the 20 new or missionary roll, on-roll off (Roro) routes identified by DBP, nine have been made operational through DBP financing, David said. The government aims to establish 49 Roro routes under its Strong Republic Nautical Highway project.

Most notable of these connections is a new route connecting the town of Pasacao in Camarines Sur to the provinces of Masbate and Romblon. The said route, which will be made operational this month, will connect Romblon to the Pan Philippine Highway.

David also said DBP is working on the acquisition of a Roro vessel that will ply the Calbayog, Northern Samar–Kawayan, Biliran, route. This will cut down travel time to Cebu City from Calbayog by more than two hours.

Other pipeline projects under the SLDP include shipyards in General Santos City and Cebu capable of handling 5,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) and 2,500 DWT vessels, respectively, for a total project cost of P380 million. These shipyards will boost the local shipping industry’s capacity to construct and repair vessels, David said.

David and other key officials of the bank were in Siargao for the kick-off ceremonies for the annual “Ready, Set, Roro!” DBP interisland race, which runs from May 15 to 20.

Now on its fourth year, this outdoor adventure is part of DBP’s efforts to promote greater public awareness on the use of the Roro terminal system.

The event features 10 teams, with each team composed of two members and a celebrity participant battling it out for the P1-million grand prize.

This year’s race will feature hot summer destinations in 11 locations over six days—Siargao, Surigao del Norte, Leyte, Camotes Island, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Aklan, Oriental Mindoro, Batangas and Manila.

“With this activity, we want to show how the Roro has helped small and medium entrepreneurs in the transport of their commodities. We will also show how the tourism sector has benefited from the cheap cost of traveling via the Roro,” David said.

The teams will compete in a series of challenges at specific points along the race route.

After each leg, the team that incurred the lowest score or was last to finish a task will be eliminated, except on predetermined non-elimination legs. Only four teams will advance to the finals that will be held in Manila. (Business Mirror)

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