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Flashback: Transport Infrastructure Framework Plan for the Philippines
I was reading an article yesterday about the outgoing NEDA Director General stating that Philippines needing a long term strategy for infrastructure development that will address the shortcomings or gaps due to unsolicited proposals. There was already something like this drafted almost a decade ago and under the auspices of the returning NEDA DG. Unfortunately, while NEDA accepted the Final Report of the study, they never adopted it as a policy that could also be imposed on agencies like the DOTr (still DOTC back then) and the DPWH. So for a sort of Throwback Thursday and on the last day of the Duterte Administration, I am sharing the promotional video produced for the framework plan that was supported by The World Bank.
The study was conducted by Cambridge Systematics (not related to Cambridge Analytics as far as I know) and was implemented at the same time as the JICA Dream Plan study for Mega Manila. I recall there is also a video on the latter and it listed all the infrastructure projects needed to address the transport problems of the Greater Capital Region. The Infra Framework Plan for the country mentions the various infrastructure projects ongoing and proposed for the Philippines but focuses on the soft side (i.e., strategies) including the reforms and institutional set-up that need to be in place for everything to come together and produce the desired outcomes in the long term. Sadly, strategies and plans are not well appreciated despite their being essential as foundations. While the Build, Build, Build mantra of the outgoing administration is worth praising for attempting to do the catch-up needed in as far as certain transport infrastructure is concerned, it falls short of what are necessary and to be prioritized. Instead, it ended up accommodating projects that are “nice to have” but should not be prioritized considering our limited resources and the undesirable foreign debt racked up by government. Hopefully, the returning NEDA DG and other officials will be able to steer the country clear of the current and future crises that may end up bringing more hardships on Filipinos.
Island hopping again
It’s been more than two years since we last traveled by plane and 10 years since our visit to Panglao in Bohol. So its really something we looked forward to considering we now travel with our daughter and there’s a lot to write about on the experiences.
And there’s a lot about transport to write about and share in this blog. There’s a new airport, the nice roads and the journey between Panglao and Balicasag, among others that I will be writing about soon.
A night’s catch
I like going out early and taking a walk along the beach. Aside from the glorious sunrises and the views and sound of the waves, there are always other scenes and experiences that you only get to observe seaside. Among those is witnessing the arrival of fishing boats laden with the night’s catch. The boats are met by the families of the fishermen who help bring in and sort the fish. Here are a few photos from Laiya, Batangas.
On local maritime transport
I rarely write about maritime transport so I took this opportunity to take photos of the typical boats used for fishing and transport in the Philippines. Here are a few photos I took one morning in Laiya, Batangas.
More on these bancas soon!
COVID-19 Infection Risk Assessment of Transport Modes
I posted about the work we have been doing to assess the infection risk (i.e., spread of COVID-19) for various modes of transport considering the transition of many areas including the National Capital Region (NCR) to the General Community Quarantine (GCQ). The work was undertaken through the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP), which is under the umbrella of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS). Here is the outcome in the form of an “Infection Risk Classification of Transport Modes or Vehicle Types” developed by a core group of public transportation and road safety specialists among its members:
Note again that this is the product of a rapid assessment using the mentioned criteria and factors. It is a qualitative assessment and a quantitative one, given the data, would obviously been preferred. Moreover, this is an assessment for risk of infection rather than for road safety. In the “old normal”, for example, cycling and motorcycle use may have a higher risk in traffic given traffic mix, human behavior and lack of facilities to make these modes safe.
On the DOTr for Public Transport – Maritime Sector
Here’s a continuation of the set of guidelines issued by the Department of Transportation for transport operations for areas that are or will be under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ). Again, I try to refrain from making any critiques or comments, and post this for information and reference.
Trip to Baler
I have yet to post a few more articles about my trip to Naga City,Camarines Sur and yet here I am traveling again, this time to Baler, Aurora. I have made it a point to travel to at least one new destination every year and this year it looks like I will be traveling to at least one new local destination and perhaps one new place overseas. So I will be concluding March by sharing this photo of two bancas (the type with the outriggers for balance) I took earlier this morning during my stroll along the beach.
These boats are used by fishermen though they can also be used for transportation along the coast. These are the non-motorised type so it takes some skill and constitution to paddle these vessels especially when the waters are choppy.
I promise to post more about this trip soon including sharing photos of arches and the dam roads of the Canili River Reservoir and the Diayo River Reservoir in Maria Aurora town.
The busy Chao Phraya
The Chao Phraya is a very busy river as traffic along this body of water is quite heavy. There are lots of vessels including those used for commuting and tourism. Here are a few photos I took from my hotel room.
A couple of commuter boats going on opposite directions
A river cruise vessel that’s popular with tourists. They serve meals on the upper deck and there is entertainment as well as a guided tour of the attractions along the Chao Phraya.
River traffic is heavy even during night time. Attractions such a the Grand Palace are nicely illuminated at night so these make for impressive sights. Perfect backgrounds while having dinner or perfect subjects if you’re into photography.
The Chao Phraya Princess (one of many princesses) docking at the Shangri-la
I wonder if the Pasig River can be developed to this level in terms of commuter and tourist traffic.
Tacloban City waterfront
While going around the city’s downtown area last week to inspect the work of our surveyors, we decided to take a break at a fast-food restaurant near the port. This branch of the fast-food chain offered nice views of the city’s waterfront and I took a few photos that I share below:
A vendor’s cart located at the road behind the fast-food restaurant – the road is used by public utility vehicles as an informal terminal and you will seldom see vehicles passing through it.
A large outrigger sits at the port. These vessels
Freighters and cranes at Tacloban’s port
A ship arriving at Tacloban
Ferry ride from Darling Harbor to Cockatoo Island
I had an opportunity to ride the ferries going around Sydney including some of the islands that were part of the attractions of the city. We rode a ferry from Darling Harbor to Cockatoo Island, which used to be for shipbuilding and repairs. It was also historically significant not just because of the ships that were built or repaired there but also because it was used as a correctional facility.
Information and fares – one can get detailed information on ferry services at the wharf and also purchase single trip or top up cards from the machines conveniently located in the area.
Information on the ferry services including the network and use of Opal cards to pay for your fares
One can use the Opal card to take ferry rides. You can top up (reload) at terminals at the wharf
The wharf where we were to await our ferry for Cockatoo Island
Sign showing which ferry lines dock at Wharf 1: F4 is for Circular Quay and F3 is for Parramatta, which includes a stop at Cockatoo Island.
The arrival of our ferry at the port
The cabin was practically empty when we boarded the ferry.
A better look at the spacious cabin
Advisory for all passengers
Ferry layout and safety plan
A view of the bridge and showing the name of the ferry. We discovered that each ferry was named after a prominent female sports figure.
Our ferry ride to Cockatoo Island afforded us splendid views of the waterfront properties and landmarks. The ferry also had few passengers so we could go around the boat to have an appreciation of the sights as well as the vessel itself. I will post some photos of the views from the ferry in a future article.