ASEAN ADOPTS RP’S NAUTICAL HIGHWAY


A nautical highway was designed and implemented with appreciable results in the Philippines. Today, the different islands are more interconnected. This article on ASEAN’s adoption of the PH project is hereby republished.

ASEAN ADOPTS RP’S NAUTICAL HIGHWAY

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to you all! Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!

Let me return to the ASEAN, after delivering my kudos to Latin Americans and Brazilians over the presidential victory of the socialist Madam Rousseff there. How I wish that the ASEANians can emulate the audacious social policies of Brazil under the stewardship of the outgoing leader Lula and incoming Rousseff.

For the good news, the information has already been disseminated that the entire ASEAN is adopting the ‘nautical highway’ program of the Philippines. Accordingly, the planning stage for a regional nautical highway is now under way, with the program most likely implemented way before the 2015 economic integration here.

A brilliant idea, the nautical highway concept was actually hatched by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the previous president of the Philippines. A technocrat-politician, Arroyo surely found a remedy to the sluggish and inefficient transit of people and cargo across the seas in the archipelago.

To recall, Arroyo was an economist and academic before she joined government. As president of the country, she achieved the feat of solving the fiscal problems and doubling national income within a 9-year span. The Philippines finally graduated to middle-income country status during Macapagal’s incumbency.

Infrastructures also expanded by many folds during Arroyo’s incumbency. Roads, wharves, airports, levees, dams, and diverse public works benefited immensely from the boom years of her aegis. Within the context of the transport infrastructure programs did Arroyo conceptualize the RORO (roll on-roll off) nautical highway.

Executed with very high success levels, the nautical highway proceeded to deliver the expected result of accelerating the transit of people and goods across the seas. The RORO also brought down the cost of ship transportation, hence engendering a more mobile poor folks who could nil afford long distance travels.

As already elucidated in a previous article, it would be excellent if the nautical highway would be interlinked with a forthcoming regional railway. More excellent if the nautical highway, roads, railways, and airports would be interlinked in such an exquisite design of transport hubs.

ASEAN-wide planning takes a longer time than national planning, as there would be a preference for consultative process in the planning exercise. Let’s just hope that the planning phase won’t take longer than 1 & ½ years at the most, with the final output passing through a last grassroots or community hearing for discussions and feedbacks.

That means that as early as 2012, the regional RORO will be implemented. Infrastructure, technology, and logistical support will need to be installed and/or allotted by the 1st quarter of 2012 to ensure fast implementation of the program.

With the program implemented, hopefully the poor folks in the coastal areas won’t have to travel to islands of other countries by risky motored banca or canoes. The RORO ships would bring down risks, travel costs, and make travels very comfortable for poor folks and monied middle class alike.

This analyst highly appreciates the latest ASEAN collaborative efforts for building a regional nautical highway. May the planning, implementation, and monitoring/evaluation of the future program come forth with stunning success.

[Philippines, 16 November 2010]
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