The operation of the Fastcat roll-on, roll-off (RORO) ferry vessel by Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corporation (APFC) from Batangas port to San Fernando port in El Nido will begin in January 2020 instead of this month.
Governor Alvarez said the latest is that the ferry service is still waiting for the guidelines for the use of San Fernando Port from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
He said that the pier in Batangas and El Nido have already been completed.
“Tapos na ang pantalan, ‘yong kalsada nalang sa Borac ang kailangan mga two kilometers. Tapos na ang pier [sa Batangas] at San Fernando [El Nido] ‘yong turn over protocol na lang from PPA ang hinihintay natin,” Alvarez said during his first monthly dubbed “Pakimanan ta si Gob”.
Alvarez said it is better to delay the operation than to get down to it without proper protocol.
In October, the Fastcat catamaran RORO began servicing passengers in the MIMAROPA provinces from the Batangas port.
“Nandyan na ang unit pero hinihintay pa natin ang pagturn-over sa PPA. Kaya ang sabi ko kung hindi abutin ngayong December sa January next year na lang. Ang mahalaga dumaan sa tamang protocol,” he said.
Fastcat M15 is the APFC’s 13th ferry vessel that costs USD8.3 million or P423.3 million that will link the MIMAROPA provinces to speed up passenger transfer and boost the movement of products and goods.
The ferry vessel was designed in Australia by Sea Transport Solutions and built in a shipyard in Hong Kong. Its engine, on the other hand, was from Japan.
A 54-meter M15 vessel can travel from Batangas to Calapan in one hour and 45 minutes and can accommodate 361 passengers, according to a previous report.
It has a 10-seating capacity cabin with its own comfort room for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs), business, tourist, and economy class.
In addition, Alvarez said the ferry vessel that will bridge the distance and trading route between Palawan to Kudat and Sabah, Malaysia also does not have any specific date operation date.
Alvarez said they are still fixing some problems with regard to the operation of the fast craft.
“Ang problema nag-election sila, nagbago ng administration kaya medyo alanganin. Hinihingian tayo ng mga documents for international voyage, ang sabi ko hindi ito international voyage kasi kung galing ng Mangsee to Kudat halos dalawang oras lang. Ang international voyage minimum ay nine hours.
Sabi ko bakit ang Zamboanga papunta sa inyo bakit pinapayagan, tayo hindi?,” he said.
Alvarez also cited security issues concerning the vessel’s route from Barangay Buliluyan, Bataraza to Kudat and Sabah.
Currently, the priority is to materialize the operation of the Fastcat from Batangas to Palawan.
“May konting hadlang din sa security, siguro ayusin ko muna ‘yon. Kaya habang may mga inaasikaso, unahin muna natin ‘yang [Batangas to Palawan] and by January sigurado na ‘yan,” Alvarez said.
The vessel has the capacity to transport 275 passengers, and carry 35 vehicles and 12 lorry trucks on the car deck. It has also an elevator for people with disabilities, a cafeteria, and a ramp.