Gov’t fast-tracking Bicol port projects

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  • The government is fast-tracking port projects in the Bicol Region to hasten the transport of goods and agricultural products, according to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
  • These include port projects in Tabaco, Malinao, Tiwi, and Bacacay in Albay, and the expansion of the roll-on/roll-off terminal in Sorsogon
  • Port projects in Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon are also in the pipeline

The government is fast-tracking port projects in the Bicol Region to help support the region’s development and hasten the transport of goods and agricultural products, according to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. who was recently in the Bicol region to distribute aid for farmers affected by El Niño.

These include port projects in Tabaco, Malinao, Tiwi, and Bacacay in Albay, and the expansion of the roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal in Sorsogon, Marcos said in a speech during the distribution of assistance to farmers, fisherfolk, and families in Legazpi City, Albay.

His administration will also speed up port projects in Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon, Marcos said. He did not, however, provide specifics on the port projects.

Marcos said port projects are given priority to help hasten trade and transport of products, particularly food and agricultural products.

He explained the need to prioritize the ports because of the plight of farmers, whose earnings are minimized because of the high cost of transporting their produce to the market.

Their produce is loaded on boats, brought down, loaded on trucks, and then unloaded. They are then loaded on other boats before reaching their destination.

For this reason, Marcos said his administration finds it necessary to create new ports and improve existing ones. Agricultural produce should be loaded from small towns straight to the new ports and on to the market.

Last January, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) awarded the contract for the expansion of the Sorsogon Ro-Ro terminal in Matnog, Sorsogon to Davao-based Khan Kon Chi Construction and Development Corp.

The project has been downloaded to PPA by its mother agency, the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

DOTr assistant secretary for maritime Atty. Julius Yano earlier said the Sorsogon RoRo terminal expansion project will help correct the current imbalance between Sorsogon and Samar ports.

Matnog port has been known to suffer perennial congestion and truck queuing, especially during the holidays when passengers travelling home flock to the terminal.

Yano noted that Sorsogon RoRo terminal serves as a critical backbone for passenger and cargo transport from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao and vice versa. He added that developing the port is a major step to the promotion of inter-island connectivity via the nautical highway system and improvements in line with the National Logistics Strategy and the vision of Marcos to make the Philippines the logistics hub in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.