LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan has appealed to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) 7 to be lenient in implementing the modernization program that requires all motorbancas that sail between mainland Lapu-Lapu City and Olango Island to be made of fiberglass.
Currently, all motorbancas that ply this route are made of wood.
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, Chan and some 100 motorbanca operators met with Marina 7 officials to raise their concerns like how expensive it is to construct a fiberglass motorbanca.
The mayor pointed out that the travel distance is not far so it’s not very dangerous even for wooden motorbancas. Also, the trip only takes 15 minutes, he said.
Based on records, a motorbanca traveling from mainland Lapu-Lapu City and Olango Island or vice versa has never been involved in a tragic accident.
Chan said operators also prefer using wooden motorbancas because these are less likely to sink in rough seas compared to their fiberglass counterparts.
However, should Marina 7 strictly implement the modernization program, it should focus on passenger bancas and not so much on motorbancas that carry tourists.
“Many of the operators are just not ready for the switch to fiberglass. It’s difficult on the part of the City Government because we don’t have alternative livelihoods to offer those who will be affected. I think Marina 7 officials forwarded the motorbanca operators’ concerns to their national office for reconsideration,” Chan said in Cebuano.
If Marina 7 does not grant his appeal, perhaps it can stagger the implementation of the modernization program, the mayor said. That way, motorbanca operators will have ample time to save money or find other ways to build fiberglass motorbancas, he said.
“Actually, some operators of passenger motorbancas have been slowly making boats made of fiberglass. In the meantime, they continue to use their wooden motorbancas while they await the decision of Marina,” Chan said in Cebuano. (from GCM of Superbalita/PJB)