Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New Bicol port seen to boost inter-island commerce

San Pascual, Masbate (PND) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will inaugurate a new strategically-located RoRo (roll-on-roll-off) port in Bicol when she visits this town for the first time on Thursday (May 27).

The P46.3 million RoRo port here, conceptualized as a “bridge between Luzon and the Visayas,” was completed last year but blessing and inauguration will be held when the President sets foot in this remote town on Thursday.

President Arroyo will be the second president to visit this town, after her father President Diosdado Macapagal, who was here on December 28, 1962.

The port project was supervised by the Philippine Ports Authority under the Strong Republic Nautical Highway program of the President.

San Pascual, is bordered by Camarines Sur in the north, Albay in the east, Bundok Peninsula of Quezon in northwest, and Sibuyan Island of Romblon and Ticao Island of Masbate in the south.

This town, a 3rd class municipality with an income of P63.7 million in 2009, produces copra, cattle, hogs, goats and fish products. The town is located at the northernmost tip of Burias Island, one of the islands that make up Masbate province. It is has 22 barangays with a population of 41,736.

"We are very happy that the President will visit us even if we are just a small municipality in this island of Masbate," San Pascual Mayor Zacarina Lazaro said.

The new port can accommodate bigger cargo and passenger vessels passing through routes to and from Quezon, Masbate, Romblon, Cebu and Davao.

The upgraded port facilities include a (9m x 11m) RoRo ramp, (6m x 7m) trestle deck and two (2) sets of 9-pile breasting dolphin. The port also is a safe docking port for cargo vessels during tropical storms.

With this port's strategic position, Lazaro said trade and commerce in and around the province will be significantly enhanced, with the benefits seen to trickle down directly to the municipality and its people.

"It opens bigger trade market for us as we can now easily bring our products to Camarines Sur, Quezon, Romblon, Cebu, General Santos in Davao and some other provinces in Visayas and Mindanao'" Lazaro said.

Lazaro also said the port will boost local tourism as San Pascual has numerous tourist spots like Sumbrero Island and Tinalisayan Island which are inhabited by green sea turtle or pawikans.

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