By Ali G. Macabalang
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Manny Piñol has appealed to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to look into the “bottleneck” affecting truckers and travellers along the ferryboats-served Sorsogon-Samar segment of the Maharlika (Manila-Davao) highway.
In his Facebook post on Wednesday, Sec. Piñol particularly called on his “friend” DOTC Secretary Arturo Tugade to remedy the “lack of ferry boats and vessels crossing the San Bernardino Channel from Matnog, Sorsogon to Allen, Samar and back” – a situation the MinDA chief described as conducive to “corruption.”
Piñol coupled his post with his video of long queues of winged cargo trucks parked on both sides of the road leading to the Matnog-Allen ports.
The MinDA chief’s post gave credence to earlier complaints on the same route segment by a group of Bangsamoro traders travelling along with medium trucks loaded with big volumes of face masks they donated for constituents of the autonomous region in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
“Trucks carrying commodities and perishable goods have to wait for long hours and sometimes a day or two just to be accommodated,” said Piñol, who travelled the Manila-Davao route by land on Tuesday.
“In situations like this, corruption sets in,” Piñol said, hinting at possibilities of truckers opting to offer bribes to pass through on time.
He pointed out that “many of these trucks carry live hogs, fish and other (perishable) agricultural products needed by consumers in Metro Manila.”
“Any delay or greasing of palms (bribes giving) means added cost in bringing the goods to the market and this is passed on to the consumers,” Piñol stressed. “Yan ang isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit mataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin sa Manila.”
“I am calling on my friend, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade to please act on this problem,” he said. AGM