RPMA, Cotabato City – The Regional Ports Management Authority (RPMA-ARMM) took the lead in responding for transport for hundreds of passengers, all residents of ARMM, who were left stranded due to the unfortunate and untimely armed clash between the GPH and the rouged MNLF during a month-long Zamboanga siege in September this year.
The significant role and primary concern of the agency is the security of the port facilities and most, the safety and security of the passengers who were stranded since the pier is located near the war zones.
Spearheaded by the Regional General Manager, Prof. Hanie A. Bud, the RPMA team assisted and facilitated the sending off of huge number of stranded passengers bound for Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) and Lamitan City and in close coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA-Zamboanga), Coastguard, Marina, Task Force Zamboanga and Philippine Navy. Also, a significant number of Muslim pilgrims who come from the ARMM island provinces were ferried out of Zamboanga to Cebu City. The pilgrims were expected to board available flights to Manila to try to meet their international flight schedules in time for the observance of Hadj. The agency has accounted to have served 921 pilgrims (Basilan: 409, Sulu: 512 Source: RPMA-ARMM).
On the other hand, the economic condition in maritime industry is relegated because of the Zamboanga siege since the port is amongst the vulnerable target. In normal business hours, there are hundreds of vessels, thousands of cargoes and passengers were served and transported from and in the island provinces however, due to the incidents; all commercial/ private vessel/ships inbound and outbound were suspended at the heights of the standoff in Zamboanga, Lamitan City and Basilan and business transactions were affected.
The RPMA-ARMM is mandated to supervise, manage, administer and operate all ports within the autonomous region’s jurisdiction. The maritime industry plays an important role in achieving socio-economic progress. In fact, shipping remains the major means of transportation in the island provinces by which islands are linked and through which movement of goods and people is achieved.
In the pursuit of the RPMA’s commitment for peace, development and nation building, being responsive to any emergency conditions in the event of disasters will bring another height to the agency. ###
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