The Philippine Ports Authority is asking the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod to act on its request for endorsement of the port zone delineation of the Banago Port in Bacolod City.
In his letter to Bacolod Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran dated August 9, PPA port manager Enrique Fuentebaja said that on June 30, SP Secretary Vicente Petierre lll sent them a copy of the SP resolution adopting the committee report of Councilor Sonya Verdeflor which contains a statement that the fisherfolk in the area are not opposed to the Banago PZD.
Fuentebaja said that former councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue also had submitted her committee report supporting the request of the PPA.
To this date however, there is no information yet regarding what the SP's action will be concerning PPA's request for endorsement of the Banago PZD, he said.
They have already presented PPA's proposed plans for Banago Port during two sessions of the SP, and during two public hearings conducted for the purpose by Councilor Ana Marie Palermo who previously chaired the SP Committee on Laws. The joint committee hearings were already completed in 2014, Fuentebeja said.
“PPA is sending this follow-up in view of the new national government's thrust to upgrade and develop further the transportation infrastructure of the country, with emphasis on upgrading and rehabilitating existing ports to avoid port congestion as this aspect is found to be deficient,” he said.
According to the new Transportation and Communications Secretary, Arthur Tugade, the government is tapping underutilized public sea transport and pushing for the upgrade of port facilities and other maritime modes of transportation to boost connectivity within the country's islands, Fuentebeja said.
The Secretary stressed that instead of building new ports and spending more, the government would rather rehabilitate underutilized piers to solve port congestion in the country because the President himself, Rodrigo Duterte, believes in the importance of inter-island connectivity as a means for achieving economic development, he said.
Fuentebeja said Banago Port is fully utilized but needs rehabilitation and/or improvement to cater to the ever-growing vessel calls because the nearby private port, as PPA records would show, is already congested and could no longer accommodate early berthing of vessels, thus vessel turnaround time is low. Such port congestion is counter-productive for Bacolod City, he said.
The rehabilitation and/or development of Banago Port is intended to help Bacolod City leap frog into greater economic prosperity considering the latest trend in ASEAN integration and the new development thrusts of the present national government, Fuentebaja said.
He hopes that PPA's longstanding request will be acted upon most favorably by the SP, he said*CGS.
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