Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Devt Bank of the Philippines expands flagship Roro project to include northeastern Luzon

Erik de la Cruz
Business Mirror

STATE-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has expanded the coverage of its flagship project, the Sustainable Logistics Development Program, by extending a P64.7-million loan to a company that will acquire two ferry vessels for the roll-on, roll-off (Roro) service in northeastern Luzon.

DBP, in a statement, said it signed the loan agreement with Northeastern Luzon Pacific Coastal Service Inc. (NLPCSI) last week.

The company will purchase ferry vessels that will serve the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Aurora.

The vessels will provide an affordable, reliable and convenient mode of transporting passengers, agricultural and marine products from coastal towns and to mainland markets, the bank said.

DBP president and chief executive officer Reynaldo David said the opening of this missionary route will improve economic conditions and harness the tourism potential of northeastern Luzon, subsequently generating more employment opportunities for residents, particularly of coastal towns, in the area.

According to NLPCSI president and chief executive officer Jose Mari Ponce, who is also administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, the DBP-financed initiative will link two economic zones—the Aurora Economic Zone and the Cagayan Free Port.

The bank’s flagship project aims to modernize the country’s infrastructure and logistics system for the efficient transport of passengers and basic commodities.

The Road Roll-On, Roll-Off Terminal System (RRTS) is a component of such project.

In May, David said the bank was evaluating 41 RRTS projects worth P5.86 billion.

The bank has identified 20 new missionary Roro routes, but only nine have so far been made operational through DBP financing.

The government aims to establish 49 Roro routes under its Strong Republic Nautical Highway project.

A new route which connects the town of Pasacao in Camarines Sur to Masbate and Romblon was recently made operational through DBP financing.

The bank was also planning to acquire a Roro vessel that will ply the Calbayog, Northern Samar-Kawayan, Biliran route.

This would cut down travel time to Cebu City from Calbayog by more than two hours, it said.

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