SENATE MINORITY Leader Frank M. Drilon, who hails from Iloilo, is helping push for the immediate construction of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge, citing its urgency in light of the Aug. 3 Iloilo Strait tragedy. “I feel very sad of the tragedy. I urge the national government to already proceed with the Iloilo-Guimaras bridge. It is really high time, and the tragedy which claimed the 31 lives of the passengers should be a justification to consider the building of the project,” he said in an interview last Friday at the newly-restored University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) main building. Mr. Drilon said he recently talked to Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar “and we are hopeful and we will follow and monitor the construction of this project.” The project — covering two bridges connecting Guimaras to Iloilo in Panay island and the other to Negros — is currently undergoing a feasibility study funded by China. “We do hope that this feasibility study is finished on time so that the construction can commence,” Mr. Drilon said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said they are aiming to pilot test within the year the electronic ticketing system that will be rolled out in all PPA-managed ports. PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago, speaking to the media in the aftermath of the mishap involving three motorboats, said the e-ticketing system is intended to eliminate overloading of boats as well as ticket fixers. “Ito ay para sa ating mga pasahero na kung saaan ang PPA na ang mismong mag i-issue ng ticket para sa mga sasakyan (This is for our passengers, with the PPA directly issuing the tickets,” he said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo