Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Task force speeds up port projects

Up to 28 priority port projects with a combined cost of P23.5 billion are being constructed, expanded or upgraded to complement the Strong Republic Nautical Highway which was launched by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the start of her administration.

Secretary Cerge Remonde, director general of the Presidential Management Staff, said yesterday that 17 of these port projects are set for completion this year— about eight months after the President unwrapped her infrastructure program for the five super regions in her 2006 State-of-the-Nation Address.

Remonde, who also heads the Infrastructure Monitoring Task Force, said three of these projects are scheduled to be finished this month. These are the Pantao Port in Libon, Albay; the Liloan Ferry Terminal Port in Southern Leyte and Sasa Port in Davao City.

He said the Jagna Port in Bohol and the Cawayan Port in Masbate are set for completion in April and May, respectively this year.

The Subic Bay Port Development Project in Zambales is expected to be completed in June and the Cagayan de Oro Port in Cagayan de Oro City in July.

Other ports set for completion in the succeeding months are the Ubay Port in Bohol, the Balbagon Port in Mambajao, Camiguin, the Limasawa Port in Southern Leyte, and the Naval Port in Biliran.

Six ports will be finished in December—Batangas International Port in Batangas, Cawit Port in Boac, Marinduque, Siquijor Port in Siquijor, Guinsiliban Port in Camiguin, and Lucena Port Terminal building in Lucena City, and Dingalan Port in Aurora.

Remonde said that in an archipelago country like the Philippines, ports—especially roll-on, roll-off ports play a strategic role in facilitating the transport of people, goods and services from the production base to the market and population centers.

“They are important to our economy’s sustained growth, Ro-Ro ports, in particular reduce transport costs and ultimately the cost of goods in the market. They are also necessary in promoting tourism,” he told a press briefing at the Malacañang New Executive Building.

The PMS chief said the initial phase of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway—which inter-connect various islands through the Ro-Ro ports—has effectively reduced travel time between Mindanao and Luzon by 10 hours and cut transport cost for passengers by 40 percent and for cargo by 30 percent.

Most of the 28 port projects are being implemented by the Philippine Ports Authority. They are identified in the administration’s Medium Term Public Investment Program from 2006 to 2010. Fel V. Maragay



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