PUERTO PRINCESA CITY: The Kudat-Palawan roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) ferry service will push through next month.
This assurance came from Palawan provincial information officer Gil Acosta Jr, in response to a report quoting a local community leader in Sabah that the sea link between Malaysia and Philippines is unlikely to start soon.
The community leader, in the report published in Daily Express, cited difficulties in documentation and permits being faced by the Philippine-based ferry operator.
"The maiden voyage of the Kudat-Palawan ro-ro) ferry service will push through in April after a delay due to Tropical Storm Basyang last February.
"The ferry operation will push through. Our last schedule was cancelled because of our own hesitation when there was a tropical storm (Basyang) in Palawan. It's a go for us," said Acosta.
He said "certain papers" pertaining to the ferry service were being sorted out to ensure that travel would be smooth when it finally leaves the port of Buliluyan, Bataraza town next month.
"In fact, we are looking forward to it because our livelihood programmes are tied to the Kudat-Palawan service, particularly our goat-raising dispersal programme due to demands for goat meat in Malaysia," he added.
Next month, Acosta said, the ferry service will start with a test run participated by local government officials to check on security and safety.
"The dry run will first happen for local government officials to check on the security of travel, and after that would be the maiden voyage with the media to see the ease of travel and propriety that it is really possible to go to Sabah," said Acosta.
In terms of safety, the ferry service is well co-ordinated with the Philippine National Police Maritime Group, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement agencies.
"Before we leave, we have to ensure security and safety because if not, one incident can end it all for us," he added. - Nikko Fabian