By Ron Huerto
“In 2016, P3.17 billion in projects were completed.”
Just two years into the Duterte administration, Secretary Arthur Tugade can let the numbers do the talking for him and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) which he has been shepherding with unmatched zest.
In what may be a record of sort for a government agency, the DoTr has reported completion of 129 commercial port projects under the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
On top of the 129, the DoTr has also completed four social and tourism ports under its Maritime Sector, again in the last two years.
“Through beautiful and improved facilities, we expect the economy to be more vibrant and tourism to grow in many parts of our country. The public will no longer face difficulties and hassles due to the lack of facilities and ports,” Tugade said in Filipino.
Tugade assured the public they will not be resting on their laurels as the government is accelerating the implementation of port projects this year.
To get the ball rolling, the DoTr spearheaded in 2016 the completion of 68 projects amounting to P3.17 billion.
These include port expansion projects worth P309 million in Puerto Princesa, Palawan; P272-million wharf extension in Lapaz, Iloilo City, and Phase III of the rehabilitation and improvement of the Tacloban City Port.
Several improvement projects were also carried out in Mindanao which are considered to be the center of the Duterte administration’s infrastructure buildup or the Build, Build, Build program.
Among these are the construction of a passenger terminal building and installation of a lighting system at the port of Glan in Sarangani; construction of a Ro-Ro ramp in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte; wharf extension in Masao, Butuan City, and improvement of the power system in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
In 2017, 40 projects worth over P2.9 billion were completed, including the P476-million gantry crane project in Zamboanga City and P593-billion crane project in Makar, South Cotabato; P157-million port expansion in Larena, Siquijor, and the P48-million wharf widening project in the Pasig River.
PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said the government is pouring in billions of pesos in the next five years to improve and modernize ports in the country.
“We have been injecting so much investment in our ports. We are thanking the President and Secretary Tugade for these projects,” he added.
For the first four months of 2018, 21 projects were completed, including the provision of a baggage x-ray room at the screening area of the Dapitan Port in Zamboanga del Norte, port road widening in Dumangas, Iloilo and the alternate access road project in Iligan, Lanao del Norte.
In 2017, the DoTr Maritime Sector completed four social/tourism port projects worth P45 million.