Around 500 passengers bound for Odiongan, Romblon may be stranded at the Batangas Port in the next 24 hours because only one passenger vessel is plying the route, said an official from the Philippine Ports Authority on Wednesday.
“Posible na ang pinakamababa na mai-stranded ngayon ng 24 oras na nandito ngayon sa pier ay nasa 500. Sa katunayan, ‘yung aalis ngayon na barko na papunta sa Odiongan, ang laman nyan ay 800,” said Batangas Port Manager Joselito Sinocruz in an interview over dzBB’s Super Radyo.
(Around 500 passengers may be stranded at the port in the next 24 hours. In fact, the vessel leaving now for Odiongan is carrying 800 passengers.)
At least 5,000 passengers were monitored at the port as of 12 noon but the port official said they are expecting the figures to increase to up to 30,000 for the Holy Week.
Around 13,000 commuters, meanwhile, were reported on Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday.
Sinocruz called on government agencies, including the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), to deploy additional vessels to help the stranded passengers, adding it may cause a domino effect with the expected influx of commuters.
“Para makagawa ng paraan ‘yung ating mga kasamahan sa gobyerno — ang MARINA at ang PCG. Kasi dudugtong ito eh. ‘Yun pong dapat b-byahe ngayon na naiwan, mag-iintay bukas. ‘Yung mga nagp-plano bukas na sumakay, maiiwan naman ‘yun,” he added.
(They may be able to help us. Because this may cause a domino effect.)
Passengers who live nearby were advised to return on Thursday while those who came from distant areas had no choice but to wait outside the terminal, said Sinocruz. —VAL, GMA Integrated News