Home » Exclusives, Ports/Terminals » PPA, port operators to build P1B housing for relocated informal settlers; Isla Puting Bato to be used for port expansion

At the signing of the MOU transferring a five-hectare land owned by the Philippine Ports Authority to the city government of Manila. Photo from the Department of Transportation.

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and Manila North Harbour Port Terminal, Inc. (MNHPI) will spend an initial P1 billion to build a housing facility for informal settler families (ISFs) set to be relocated from Isla Puting Bato, Tondo, Manila.

The vacated area will then be used for port expansion, PPA general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago told PortCalls in text messages.

Santiago said the “intention is to establish an area where we can integrate operations of MICT (foreign) and North Harbor (domestic) so that we can decongest areas outside the two terminals as well as to expand the capacity of both terminals.” The plan also includes a road linking the two terminals.

Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), which is operated by ICTSI, and North Harbor, also known as North Port and operated by MNHPI, are about five kilometres apart.

ICTSI is seeking to acquire a 50% share in MNHPI. The deal is currently being reviewed by the Philippine Competition Commission.

ICTSI and MNHPI are already collaborating through intra-terminal transfers of international cargoes bound for domestic ports and domestic cargoes bound for the international market. These intra-terminal transfers are largely conducted through a link between the two terminals, eliminating the need for shipments to be brought outside the port.

Relocation site

The 2,086 ISF beneficiaries will be resettled from Isla Puting Bato to a five-hectare land, also in Tondo, owned by PPA. The land was transferred to the local government of Manila under a memorandum of understanding signed on February 26 by PPA, ICTSI, MNHPI, the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Manila government.

Under the MOU, the National Housing Authority (NHA) will conduct tagging and census activities to identify qualified ISFs and facilitate the resettlement.

Santiago said the start of construction of the low-rise condominium-style housing units will depend on NHA, and this in turn will be the basis for starting the port expansion project on the vacated site.

In a separate statement, Santiago said ISF beneficiaries will receive legal protection for ownership of the housing units, with documents being prepared to prevent the ISFs’ eviction. PPA targets providing security for the beneficiaries for up to 25 years. The land, meanwhile, will remain the property of the government.

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