FASTCRAFTS going to and from Camiguin and Jagna, Bohol will be starting its operations on January 15, four days after the memorandum of agreement between the local government of Opol and the Philippine Archipelago Ports and Terminal Services Inc. was signed.
According to Roland Cainhog, the tourism operations officer of Opol, that having an alternative route, from Opol to Camiguin and Bohol and vice versa, will bring convenience to passengers, especially those from Laguindingan and Cagayan de Oro City as they do not need to commute for almost an hour to Balingoan.
At present, the Balingoan Port in Misamis Oriental is the only port in the province where vessels going to and from Camiguin dock.
The landing port for Camiguin and Bohol-bound fast crafts, Cainhog said, is located in the extension area of the fishing port in Luyong, Bonbon, Opol, where the terminal and service area for the passengers are in the process of completion.
The passenger terminal is expected to be completed on or before January 15.
Cainhog said the tourism industry of Opol will greatly improve with the soon-to-be open port for the FastCat, a fleet of catamaran-type roll-on-roll-off vessels.
"Magiging entry point [ang Opol] to other provinces at yung mga tourists na pupunta sa Opol (Opol will be an entry point for other provinces and the tourists going to Opol), they will know what is Opol now," Cainhog said, adding that the municipality will also be an avenue for investments and the residents can start their own businesses and sell near the port.
Cainhog also mentioned that according to the memorandum of agreement signed on Thursday, January 11, 50 percent of the income coming from the passenger terminal and service area will be given to the local government of Opol while the other 50 percent will be to the Philippine Archipelago Ports and Terminal Services Inc.
"There will be now the integration of the community in regards on the ownership of our establishment. In regards on the economy, of course the 50 percent na papasok sa LGU (local government unit) and it would add more services towards the community," Cainhog said.
He added that with local government ordinance, wherein 60 percent of the workers will be coming from Opol while the 40 percent will be from the Philippine Archipelago Ports and Terminal Services Inc., this can give the residents of the municipality job opportunities.
According to the Public Employment Service Office in Opol, so far, four job positions are available: cashier, two tellers, maintenance and utility.
As for the impact to the environment, the tourism operations officer said that this will be a challenge to the community, both the barangay and municipality, in how to maintain the environment even with the new opportunity presented to them.
"Kung baga (In other words), it's an opener sa mga tao na kailangan nating alagaan ang ating environment kasi may taong papasok (to the people that they should take good care of our environment since there will be people outside the municipality coming in)," Cainhog said.
The Opol-Camiguin-Jagna Bohol-bound fast crafts will officially launch its operations on January 15 although there are still no details on the number of vessels, the travel schedule and fare.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 13, 2018.