Ferry passengers have an option with new Benit RORO
By Bong Pedalino
MAASIN CITY (24 October) -- Travelers to and from Mindanao passing through this province and Surigao City will have a choice on their journey with the expected opening of a new ferry terminal at barangay Benit, San Ricardo, once that facility operates in a year or two.
They can either use the existing facility at Liloan ferry terminal for a relaxed travel to and from Surigao City, or for those in a hurry, riding in their owner-type jeep or four-wheel service vehicles, they may opt for the Benit terminal with a shorter travel time of one hour.
The highway road section from Liloan to San Ricardo had been well paved and concreted already, which ensures a smooth land-based ride.
This was the scenario painted by Gov. Damian Mercado amid speculative concerns that two operational ferry terminals in one single island of Panaon may result to unhealthy competition.
In a news conference at his office yesterday, October 22, following his presentation of the first 100 days˘ report, the Governor stressed that ten-wheeler trucks and other big buses would still use the Liloan port because of the difficult saddle portion of the highway in Pintuyan town going to Benit.
And those in service vehicles may still take the usual Liloan ride for a leisurely trip, Gov. Mercado added, even as he envisioned a flourishing local economy once the new Benit RORO port becomes functional.
PIA learned from a Tacloban-based Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) official last week that the new Benit port was already started last month for a work duration of 360 days, the project costing about P 75 Million taken from PPA˘s corporate funds.
For his part, Vice-Governor Mike Maamo, a native of Liloan town, said the new Benit facility would serve as an alternate port, but during inclement weather ferry boats would usually call at the Liloan port owing to its natural, protective harbor.
On the dangerous saddle road, the Vice-Governor disclosed that they had already a recommendation for lowering the structure, but the cost estimate was about P 80 to P 100 million to make this happen.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Panaon, the provincial government is bent on building a road to connect some eight and a half kilometers vacant span to finally link San Ricardo and Liloan towns through this circumferential highway, Maamo said. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]