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PIA Press Release

PPA boosts South Mindanao local ports

Davao City (9 March) -- In a bid to bolster regional trade and tourism through the sea transport sector, selected smaller municipal ports in Southern Mindanao will get their equal share of development funding from Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in 2007.

This was disclosed as Port District Office-Southern Mindanao (PPA PDO-SoMin) Port District Manager Abdussabor Sawadjaan presents the recently approved PPA Plans and Programs for engineering projects.

Maco Port in Compostela Valley Province, already an active hub for the export of wooden chips from the Davao Region, is currently implementing the PPA-funded PhP 24.93 M Port Development- Phase II package.

The second phase covers a 30 x 11 meter extension of the existing reinforced concrete pier and the installation of a breasting dolphin which will be used as a protective structure for docking vessels.

A prior PhP 7.93 M improvement of Maco port by PPA in 2004, it would be recalled, paved the way for a local investor, the Philippine Chips Tagum Plant Corporation (PCTPC), a leading gemelina and falcata wood chips and lumber producer to tie-up with Japanese export trading partners.

A maiden voyage carrying an estimated 200, 000 metric tons of wooden chips, raw materials for paper production, off to Japan was finally realized in 2006.

In a similar vein, the Port of Mabila, situated in Balut Island, Sarangani Municipality, Davao del Sur Province receives PhP 42.84 M in support of its port rehabilitation projects which started in late 2006.

Underway are the construction of a 9 x 22 meter Roll-On Roll-Off (RO-RO) ramp, breasting dolphins, mooring structures, rubber dock fenders, rubber tire fenders and installation of modern port lighting facilities.

Considered as one of the major trading partners of General Santos and with an existing link to Davao City, Mabila's much-anticipated PPA infrastructure intervention propels its prospects for commerce and tourism.

NHU Brokerage based in General Santos earlier expressed intentions to link up Mabila through the JAGS-CT (Jose Abad Santos-Glan, Sarangani Cooperation Triangle) to Bitung City, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Mabila, also known as the coastal town center, is greatly blest with abundant fishing grounds and an equally booming agriculture sector for cattle raising and coconut production. It also has an attractive natural landscape suited for outland adventure and eco-tourism activities.

Taking cue from the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) Project of the central government through the RO-RO port system expansion, another project up for public bidding is the construction of a PhP 13.48 M RO-RO Ramp in the Port of Banay-Banay, Davao Oriental.

Banay-Banay, recognized mainly for its rich chrome deposits and its special rice varieties in the Davao Region, is being poised as a commercial trading hub for the direct transport of its raw products to Cebu City, China and to other international ports of call.

San Isidro, yet another coastal town in Davao Oriental province, is being eyed as an alternative commercial or RO-RO port which seeks to connect to the Davao del Norte area particularly through the adjoining Tagpopongan, a sitio in the neighboring Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS).

Basically known for its rich fishing resources, PPA will contribute an estimated PhP 20 M for the San Isidro port development.Other prospective markets include existing opportunities in its mango, banana and high-value crops production, processing industry (e.g. food, marble, gemstone and coco choir) and cottage industries such as salt-making, brick/pottery, and handicrafts.

Babak, the nearest link of mainland Davao City to IGACOS, will likewise receive PhP 42.9 M this year for the year port expansion, reclamation and reconstruction of its existing RO-RO landing platform.IGACOS, a prominent tourist destination in the Davao Region, hosts the world-famed Pearl Farm Beach Resort, popular powdery white beaches, lush dive sites, excellent trekking/cycling terrains and scenic spelunking spots.

The advent of the RO-RO link not only underscores the advantage of Babak's proximity to Davao City and the potential of economic growth it offers but mostly provides an avenue for government ports to actively participate in the SRNH in the future.

SRNH refers to a network of ports primarily aimed at the seamless inter-connection of the major islands --Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao of the country.

In the Western Mindanao Region, meanwhile, the PPA-operated terminal ports of Ipil, Margosatubig and Pagadian (all in Zamboanga del Sur Province), will receive an estimated PhP 60.10 M budget for their various rehabilitation, reclamation, expansion and RO-RO projects for 2007.

Complementing the operations of the baseport located in Zamboanga City, said terminals serve as invaluable catalysts of regional economic growth, particularly in the exchange and transport of goods and services within the Zamboanga Peninsula, other inter-island hubs and prospective international links.

Funded through PPA's annual Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) projects, these progress come as a relief to most coastal Local Government Units (LGUs) which possess the innate potentials as maritime commercial centers catering to both domestic and foreign investors. (PPA SoMin/PIA XI) [top]

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