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Fast-craft trips’ resumption hangs

Fast-craft trips’ resumption hangs
Eugene Y. Adiong October 17, 2020

BACOLOD CITY: Concerned over possible financial losses, operators of fast crafts plying the Guimaras Strait have said they have doubts whether to resume trips. Jose Venancio Vero, regional director of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina)-Western Visayas, said shipping lines have not decided yet if they will resume their operations.

Vero added that the operators are worried over the possibly limited number of passengers that the government will allow them to carry despite the relaxed community quarantine status of the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo.

Passengers, however, can take the FastCat that continues to operate because it is categorized as both a cargo and a passenger vessel, he said. Vero met on Thursday with representatives of Bacolod City and Iloilo City, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and operators of shipping companies. Frank Carbon, operator of Weesam Express, said another major concern of fast-craft operators in the region are inconsistent protocols of the two highly urbanized cities of Western Visayas.

Lt. Jansen Benjamin, commander of the PCG-Negros Occidental, said they will only implement orders from Marina if the issues and concerns raised by the operators are resolved. On Tuesday, Mayor Jerry Treñas, of Iloilo City lifted the ban on travel between the two cities. The Bacolod City government has also allowed travel and entry of passengers and commuters into the city.