Sunday, 15 February 2009

Philippine govt spending P11b for port development

Roderick T. dela Cruz
The Manila Standard

The government will spend close to P11 billion in different port projects around the country, as a part of the government’s stimulus package to induce economic activities and create jobs amid the global financial crisis.

Oscar Sevilla, general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority, said the agency plans to start the construction of 74 ports by the third quarter or fourth quarter of 2009.

“These port projects will generate jobs, boost tourism, promote peace and order in the countryside, and create economic activities,” Sevilla said.

He said the 74 ports, to be built under a foreign loan for the GMA Maritime Port Access project, would link islands across the country. The loan will be shouldered by the Transportation Department.

He said the PPA did not have enough funds to undertake the construction, prompting Transportation to finance the ports from its budget. PPA is a government-owned and -controlled corporation under the Transportation Department.

Sevilla said the ports would be cheaper and easier to build because they would be constructed using a modular port technology developed by a contractor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. He did not name the French company.

It is estimated that each module could be completed in as short as two months at a cost of between P40 million and P50 million.

Port projects built under traditional construction methods cost about P150 million per port, said the PPA.

The government is negotiating with foreign banks to finance the implementation of the project.

Sevilla said that once completed, the modular ports would become a part of the Roll-on, Roll-off nautical highway in the country.

He said while RoRo ports do not contribute much to the coffers of PPA, these projects have lowered the cost of inter-island transport and induced economic activities in many islands.

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