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Luzon-E. Visayas-Mindanao RoRo travelers warned of trip delays

Luzon-E. Visayas-Mindanao RoRo travelers warned of trip delays
Sarwell Meniano January 19, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Government authorities advised land travelers traversing the nautical highway that connects Eastern Visayas to Luzon and Mindanao to expect delays due to the lingering impacts of Typhoon Odette.

In a joint travel advisory issued Tuesday night by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the agencies said roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ports in Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte, and Surigao were damaged by the recent typhoon.

“These ports are still reeling from the ravages caused by Typhoon Odette, which were further aggravated by the harsh sea condition resulting in congestion due to the reduced frequency of vessel calls,” the advisory stated.

These agencies under the Department of Transportation (DOTr) reported that in Matnog, Sorsogon, the number of vessels is down to nine from 14 to pave the way for the ongoing repair to its modular Ro-Ro ramp.

In Liloan, Southern Leyte, there are only two operational berthing facilities while its nearby port in Benit, also in Southern Leyte province is still out of order due to massive destruction.

“These ports are the main gateways of Luzon and the Visayas to Mindanao via Lipata Port in Surigao del Norte, which also sustained significant damages to its facilities,” the advisory said.

To ease port congestions, the DOTr-attached agencies urged travelers to consider taking other routes for faster travel, such as in Pilar, Sorsogon or Pio Duran, Albay to Masbate and Cebu for those heading to Visayas and Mindanao.

Luzon-bound travelers from Mindanao can take the alternate route from Lipata port to Opol, Misamis Oriental, according to the advisory.

“The PPA, MARINA, and PCG are working round-the-clock to increase the number of vessels plying the routes to reduce congestion at the ports without sacrificing safety and security of the port users,” the advisory added.

The three agencies issued the advisory just a few hours after the Land Transportation Office in Bicol Region advised passengers going to the Visayas through Matnog Port to cancel or reschedule their trips.

The LTO said that two damaged sea vessel ramps are causing a slow-down in the loading of vehicles.

A total of 796 vehicles and about 5,000 individuals are stranded in the port as of Tuesday noon. (PNA)