MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – Boat operators in Cebu formally launched the Cebu Tourist Boat Association (CTBA) and open forum to prepare for the impending “Ship Modernization Program” as contained in the Memorandum Circular 2016-02 issued by the MARINA on the Revised Rules on the Phase Out of Wooden-hulled Marine Vessel Carrying Passengers in Domestic Shipping.
In a CTBA media launch and boat modernization program open forum on Saturday, October 29, MARINA chief officer of the Franchising and Shipping Division, Atty. Jose Cabatingan III explained that boat modernization is particular about the phasing out of all wooden-hulled boats and bancas that are carrying passengers.
Cabatingan mentioned that this forum is part of a series of discussions with different stakeholders in the local tourism maritime sector to bring awareness and call to support the government’s long overdue plan to modernize the domestic shipping industry especially those involved in the local tourism maritime sector.
According to CTBA chairman, Chief Engr. Optaciano Sy Boo Jr. that boat operators in Cebu have manifested their support to the program saying this is the right time to modernize the local tourist boats here.
“Cebu is a trailblazer and with the Cebu Tourist Boat Association leading the way it is for certain that soon enough the program will be realized because CBTA is committed to become a trusted and leading provider of tourist boat modernization for each stakeholder, member and partners,” Boo said.
He added that CTBA is now gathering boat operators to become members of the association and are now ready to form into a cooperative to help implement the goals of the government’s modernization of tourist boats in Central Visayas.
Boo said that CTBA envisions to be the leading provider of the state-of-the-art tourist boats to benefit all stakeholders and each member through recreation and modernization with enterprise and reasonable value.
According to Atty. Gary Maningo, CTBA Cooperative Consultant that any modernization program is a threat to the small boat operators in the tourism maritime industry. He bared that there are more than 3,000 regular boat owners/operators in Central Visayas and 60 percent of these are in Cebu.
“The best way to approach this is for CTBA to become a cooperative and we will enjoin all small boat/banca operators to become members of the cooperative for them to get modernized and at the same time benefit from the government’s technical assistance and subsidies,” Maningo bared.
Maningo added, this program will also help bring back the livelihood and strengthen the local maritime tourism industry sector in Cebu and the region after the devastation caused by typhoon Odette and the circumstances brought about by the pandemic.
According to Maningo, the CTBA recognizes and is in support on the Ship Modernization Program and has consulted and is backed up with the technical expertise and support of a Cebu local boat builder with international standards that shall pave the way in the future and modernization of the bancas in the Philippines.
The CTBA initiated this open forum event and consultation to address the current situation and need of the maritime tourism industry sector in the region, specifically in Cebu to lead the modernization program.
The speakers and panelists during the forum included the Chairman of Cebu Tourist Boat Association, Chief Engr. Optaciano Sy Boo Jr.; Marina Enforcement Service OIC Director Engr. Ronaldo Bandalaria; Chief Officer of the Franchising and Shipping Division of Marina, Atty. Jose Cabatingan III and CTBA Cooperative Consultant Atty. Gary Maningo.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) also graced the event with the Undersecretary for Legal & Special Concerns and Chief of Staff, Atty. Mae Elaine Bathan accompanied by the Head Executive Assistant of DOT, Alven Talisic on behalf of DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco.