The NEDA MIMAROPA conducted the SRNH inter-agency meeting on November 3, 2017 at the NEDA MIMAROPA Regional Office in Calapan City. The meeting was attended by representatives from the following offices: DPWH Oriental 1st District and 2nd District Offices, Philippine Ports Authority – Port Management Office of Mindoro, Land Transportation Office – MIMAROPA, Philippine Coast Guard – Mindoro, Calapan City, Municipality of Roxas, Nautical Ports Management and Services, Inc., Starlite Ferries, Inc., Montenegro Shipping Lines, Inc., and FastCat-Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corporation.

MIMAROPA RDC Acting Vice Chairperson and OIC Regional Director, Atty. Raul S. Anlocotan chaired the meeting. In his opening remarks, he said that the committee was convened in response to RDC Resolution No. 2017-059-627, creating an inter-agency SRNH committee that will serve as a forum or avenue for various agencies and stakeholders to discuss matters and concerns related to SRNH route linking the Visayas and Luzon. He shared his personal experience on his way to Iloilo City that the said route from Caticlan Port (Malay, Province of Aklan) to Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro via Bulalacao Port was a long and exhausting trip and yet, he noted that there is no rest area for passengers between Bulalacao Port to Calapan City (4 hours travel time). He also noted that the province of Oriental Mindoro does not derive much benefit from the commuters passing along the roads from Calapan port leading to the ports of Roxas and Bulalacao. He emphasized that NEDA MIMAROPA does not want the Province to miss the development potentials along the SRNH road segment. The meeting served as a venue for the private and government sectors to discuss the development of the nautical highway.

Six (6) agenda items were discussed in the meeting: 1) MIMAROPA Intermodal Transport Development Plan (MITDP); 2) overview of SRNH; 3) status of roads along SRNH route; 4) port zone delineation plans; 5) port security; and 6) overloading concern.

NEDA MIMAROPA OIC Assistant Regional Director Susan A. Sumbeling presented the MITDP. She presented the projects identified in the plan and their status. Atty. Anlocotan discussed the overview of the SRNH and the objective of the meeting to come up with programs, projects and activities for the SRNH for inclusion in the updating of the RDIP and consequently that will be proposed for inclusion in the FY 2019 budget of concerned agencies.

The road and port network development plans and concerns were extensively discussed: 1) relocation of informal settlers; 2) titled properties on protected, non alienable and disposable lands; 3) ongoing review by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the Calapan Port Zone Delineation Plan; 4) intensified efforts versus illegal drugs; and 5) truck overloading that greatly contribute to the deterioration of the SRNH roads. 

Atty. Anlocotan encouraged the concerned agencies to conduct consultative meetings with key stakeholders to resolve the issues. He also requested the DPWH representatives to proposed road widening projects along the SRNH route for safety and anticipating future traffic.

To apprehend overloaded trucks, DPWH and LTO will submit their proposal on the placement of weighbridge station outside PPA ports.

The body agreed to conduct the next SRNH committee meeting on January 18, 2018. The agenda for the next meeting will include the presentation of the private shipping companies’ development plans to ensure their complementation with the national and regional development plans. Other concerned agencies such as the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Department of Tourism will be invited to discuss possible projects on resettlement housing for displaced illegal settlers and rest areas along the SRNH route, respectively.