By Jane Bautista, January 9, 2023; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Manila, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is planning to construct and expand seaports to improve the country’s nautical highway in the next six years.

The DOTr underscored on Sunday that this strategy, which would support vital economic sectors like agriculture and trade, was part of the Philippine Development Plan for 2023 to 2028.

“New linkages and strategic location of new ports will be assessed to create new rural growth areas. The capacity of Ro-Ro (roll-on, roll-off) facilities will be increased and processes will be digitized to address congestion and delays,” the DOTr said.

Electronic terminal management systems such as electronic ticketing will also be implemented and streamlined while aging fleets will be replaced or retrofitted to mitigate the risk of maritime accidents, it added.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Industry Development Plan will continue to be implemented through maritime education, technology and innovation.

Complete missing links

The DOTr also plans to upgrade land routes aligned with the nautical highway network and complete the missing links in the road network by constructing viable inter-island bridges.

“Road transport corridors leading to airports and ports will be upgraded, including installation of weighbridges to prevent overloading,” it said.

Also on Sunday, the DOTr reiterated its plan to give pedestrians and cyclists the highest priority in the hierarchy of road users.

“Provisions for active mobility will be integrated into the transportation system. Existing thoroughfares and bridges will be redesigned and retrofitted for the protection and expansion of bikers and pedestrians,” it said.

Bike-only roads

To ensure safe and well-connected active mobility networks, the DOTr intends to widen sidewalks, develop greenways, car-free zones, and bike-only roads and reconstruct intersections.

“Local governments and private developers will be incentivized to have pedestrian-friendly and bikeable developments and programs,” the DOTr said.

The local governments will also be encouraged to monitor walk scores, walkability, bikeability, and accessibility within their jurisdictions.