ILOILO City – There appears to be a shortage of motorboat trips to Jordan town in the island province of Guimaras from this city, according to the municipality’s local chief executive.
Passengers, especially those catching trips between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., would have to wait for two to three hours before they could get a ride, according to Mayor Ruben Corpuz.
Corpuz called on the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Region 6 to find a remedy.
“Ang request ko sa Marina is ma-conduct sila investigation and istoryahan kon ano ang mahimo [nila],” he said.
Operators of boats plying the route Iloilo City – Jordan Wharf and vice versa belong to the Jordan Motorbanca Cooperative.
They pick up Jordan-bound passengers mainly from Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo City but they depart from the Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal (Parola) on Sundays and Mondays or when the wind and waves are strong.
“If there is a need nga magdugang sila sang franchise or another group nga magbiyahe para mag-efficient ang operation, OK lang ako sina,” stressed Corpuz.
The cooperative has 52 motorboats but these operate on alternating “shifts” – half would go on trips one day, the other half the next.
On May 20 many passengers – some of whom were Manggahan Festival spectators – got stuck in Iloilo City for hours before getting a ride to Jordan because only a few boats went on trips, Corpuz claimed.
Long queues of Jordan-bound passengers, particularly between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., may be observed on Mondays and other days when their number commonly surges, he added.
Inconvenienced passengers are castigating the local government of Jordan when in fact the problem is with the Jordan Motorbanca Cooperative, said the mayor.
“Something must be done through Marina,” Corpuz said, adding that he already wrote the agency regarding his concern on Wednesday.
Corpuz is himself a member of the cooperative. He had been bringing up the matter during their meetings, specifically addressing their president, Ofelia Canja, the mayor said.
He had been suggesting that the cooperative field 13 to 15 more motorboats, especially on Mondays, Fridays, and the weekend when there is an upsurge in the number of passengers, the mayor claimed.
“Wala sila nagapamati (They don’t listen),” said Corpuz.
He believes motorboat trips during the Manggahan Festival are not carefully planned, unlike during the Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid, a Holy Week event.
Both events are the top tourist drawers of the island province.
“Gusto ko efficient ang amon transport system,” Corpuz said.
With regard to the possibility of another group operating Jordan-bound boat trips, the mayor disclosed that SouthWest Tours Boracay, Inc., which handles speedboats, is interested in getting a franchise for the Iloilo City-Guimaras and vice versa route.
“Depende sa result sang investigation sang Marina kon i-open nila ang franchise,” said Corpuz. “Damo na interested.”/PN