BASILAN Governor Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman welcomed another breakthrough in the roll-on roll-off (Roro) mode of transportation with the launching of a new sea link between the province and Cotabato City Wednesday, April 26, 2023.

This, as the MV Paradise Island, a Roeo vessel, made its maiden voyage Wednesday from Basilan province via Lamitan City to Cotabato City.

In his message, Salliman congratulated everybody for the realization of “such a significant sea route” that benefits the entire island province of Basilan.

He said the new sea route does not only need the support of everybody but it must be taken as a responsibility even as he reiterated the support of the entire province and his heartfelt thanks to the leadership of Chief Minister Ahod Ibrahim for giving importance to all BasileƱos, taking into consideration its significant effects to the movements of people and products.

The opening of the Basilan-Cotabato City route was a result of what he has been asking for years that should be some sort of identify “kung saan, pag maging member tayo ng Barmm hindi lamang sa pangalan, hindi lang sa kultura, kung di economic and political yung connectivity.”

The geographical location of Basilan is too far from the seat of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) government in Cotabato City, for which Salliman stressed the need for connectivity in all aspects to Barmm—from economic, political and cultural. Hence, the new sea route is a very significant step towards that goal.

Salliman said he has also been asking the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in BARMM (MOTC-Barmm) to further strengthen the interconnectivity of the island provinces from Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan and to the mainland, “hindi lang po sa pangalan kung di sa economic activity in particular.”

He further expressed hope for Lamitan City port to become an international port as envisioned by the Barmm, and that a feasibility study as to its functionality should be conducted.

According to Salliman, the new Roro route is a manifestation of the successful peace process under the leadership of Barmm.

Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay described MV Paradise Island’s maiden trip as something that gives flesh to the city being the economic corridor of Basilan province.

“The inaugural voyage marks the milestone in the economic endeavor of Lamitan City and Basilan Province in general,” Furigay said, adding: “it has been a long dream for every trader of in Basilan that major products and cargoes will no longer pass a circuitous route via Zamboanga Peninsula.”

He said that the opening of the new route does not only mean savings for traders. It also means convenience for the people and above all, additional revenue for the government coffer.

He appealed to the people, especially to the traders, to support this venture to sustain and ensure that its route will become regular and will even have more trips in the future.

Meanwhile, Lamitan City Vice Mayor Hegem Furigay, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed that the new route linking the cities of Lamitan and Cotabato is a manifestation of the cooperation between BARMM's transportation ministry and Lamitan City's Commitment in providing superior products and services to our citizens.

He said the new addition of trips complements the broader service offerings of the other business units under this partnership.

“As a major player in the industry being in public service, it is imperative for us to take the lead in product innovations and unparalleled public services to keep in step with world-class standards and provide for our citizens' needs,” he added.

MV Island Paradise has the capacity of 124 passengers with 14 to 15 hours of average travel from the place of origin.

Salliman together with lawyer Paisalin Tago, MOTC-Barmm minister, and other officials witnessed MV Paradise Island make its maiden voyage from Lamitan City to Cotabato City. (SunStar Zamboanga)

Source: SunStar (https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1959792/zamboanga/local-news/basilan-cotabato-city-sea-link-welcomed)