Last week, our local newspaper the Negros Chronicle boasted on their article that politicians can “stop dreaming about a multi-billion steel bridge that would link Negros to Cebu” and instead, “be thankful of the ferries of a private firm for linking both provinces at a cheaper price. Well, I say otherwise.
A steel bridge or anything that could link the two islands literally and not virtually is better than any of the said ferries. I’ve rode on these ferries so many times and they often make me seasick (which I don’t usually get), you could smell the crude oil from where you are seating. Another thing is that its extremely noisy, you can hear the sound of the ship’s engine from where you are seating. Not only that but the ships are not safe either, the staircase that connects to the passenger’s deck is made up of narrow steel that may cause people to outbalance themselves especially those who have walking problems. Causing them either to fall flat on the metal floor or slip right into the water! The good thing about these ferries though are their flat bottoms that would help them endure rough waters. Once when I took a ride on one of these ferries the sea was unstable and our ship was rocked like crazy! But thanks to the experienced captain and the ship’s flat bottom we were able to endure the waves.
Good or bad these ferries are not attractive enough for foreigners and the noise, stench and pace of the ferry would often annoy them, as what I have seen in my past trips. If the issue of connecting Negros to Cebu is concerned we should build an underwater train station like the railway that connects England to France through the English channel. It won’t cost as much as the English Channel Tunnel considering the shorter distance between Cebu and Negros. This should be built by the government then sold to a private firm, local pure-Filipino form preferably. The government should be able to find enough funds from savings. Once privatized, the government would be able to absorb all expenditures. The government and the private firm would be able to collect big amounts from the railway’s toll. And not only that, the government should add a new twist such as underground market stalls and make it sort of an underground mall. This would create new jobs and a boom on the tourism industry would be imminent.
Cebu is known as the investment capital of the Philippines’ (yes, it beat Manila) while Dumaguete is a thriving seaport itself. Making transport easy for these two provinces would be an economic boom to both provinces.
With the investments and trade these trains would bring.