Manila Bulletin/ Panay News
Boy Ryan B. Zabal
BORACAY – Malay, Aklan Mayor Ceciron Cawaling stopped the operation of Montenegro Shipping Lines plying the Caticlan-Boracay route. Nieven Maquirang, administrator of the Caticlan Jetty Port and Passenger Terminal, said the mayor issued the order to ease the tension between the shipping company and the protesting Caticlan Boracay Transport Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CBTMPC) operators and boatmen.
On Thursday night, members of the boat cooperative barricaded the docking area of Montenegro fast crafts at the Cagban Jetty Port in Brgy. Manoc-Manoc. They claimed that the fast crafts are operating even without a business or mayor’s permit.
Maquirang said the CBTMPC, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police and the Montenegro Shipping Lines agreed to clear the docking area and to stop the sea crafts from loading and unloading passengers after Mayor Cawaling intervened last Friday.
Sangguniang Bayan member Mateo Tayco said Montenegro should comply first with the mayor’s permit.
“What it only has from the local government of Malay was the mayor’s permit for the operation of Montenegro ’s roll-on roll-off vessels, which are serving Roxas Mindoro and Caticlan,” he said.
Montenegro sea crafts are charging P30 per passenger from the Caticlan-Cagban ports while the boat cooperative, with 90 motorized pump boats, is collecting P25. CBTMPC chairman Godofredo Sadiasa had hit the “cut-throat operation” of Montenegro Shipping Lines, which began its operation on August 8. He said more than 2,000 members of the CBTMPC are affected.
“The feeling of deprivation was further aggravated by the fact that we have been in this business even before Boracay became a byword in the tourism industry. This livelihood is the only legitimate way we know to support our families,” Sadiasa said. Sadiasa said they remitted P6.289 million in common carriers tax to the Bureau of Internal Revenue since December 2003, and paid P200,000 to the local government of Malay for their business permits.