Recto: Tap ‘nautical roads’ to ease Mega Manila traffic

Bea Cupin

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'If the streets are full of cars and we want to travel, then let’s go amphibian," says the senator

BRING IT BACK. In this file photo, a family looks the river banks while on a ferry boat travelling along the Pasig River. The ferry service was shut down in 2011 due to losses. File photo by Noel Celis/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Why stop at the Pasig River?

A day after he urged the national government to re-open the Pasig River Ferry Service, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto suggested that government tap not only the Pasig River, but other nearby bodies of water as “nautical roads.”

“If the streets are full of cars and we want to travel, then let’s go amphibian,” said Recto in a statement released Tuesday, February 18.

Metro Manila is bracing for heavier traffic caused by 15 road work projects from 2014 to 2016. Major road work in the Metro was kicked off on Tuesday, February 18, with the construction of the Skyway 3, which will connect the North Luzon Expressway to the South Luzon Expressway.

The Pasig River Ferry System was shut down in 2011 due to losses.

He said government should also study the feasibility of extending the Pasig River Ferry Service to Marikina, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and even Bulacan.

Tax breaks for ferries

The senator also urged the transportation department to release to the public the results of the Manila Bay-Pasig River-Laguna Ferry Service feasibility study which was commissioned in December 2012.

Should the study prove that a ferry service is feasible, Recto said this should be included in the proposed budget for 2015.

A ferry system would also be more practical than tollways and railways, the senator said, because there’s “no need to dig a river.”

“We have given planes, trains and automobiles, and toll roads, fiscal incentives and tax breaks. Why not extend the same to ferries?” he said.

Promoting public transportation on ferries, the senator added, has another bonus: environmentally aware commuters. “When more residents of a metropolis regularly use its waterways for traveling, the incentive to keep them clean is high,” he said. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.