Firm tells DOTC chief: Stop Banago Roro port-A A +A
Monday, July 16, 2012
THE Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation (Bredco) is asking Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas to stop the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)-Port Management Office (PMO) in Pulupandan from constructing a port for Roll On, Roll Off (Roro) vessels in Barangay Banago, Bacolod City.
In his letter to Roxas, Bredco president lawyer Simplicio A. Palanca said it has come to the knowledge of Bredco that the PPA-PMO Pulupandan now has an office at Banago that was recently inaugurated and that the PPA is soliciting the written approval of the City of Bacolod regarding the Port Zone Delineation, purposely for the PPA to establish also a port at Banago that will compete with city-owned port, which is managed by private port operator Bredco.
To date, the City of Bacolod has not given the necessary approval because of the lack of study made on the impact to the economy of the city if ever two ports will be operated.
Palanca, in his letter, also relayed the concern of Bredco, which he said, was granted the rights to the operation and management of the Bacolod Port, as embodied in the 1961 agreement between the city and Bredco.
"This agreement was concretized in the 1995 Comprehensive Revised Reclamation Agreement (CRRA) signed by the same parties, the City of Bacolod and Bredco. The City of Bacolod already had a port which is professionally managed by Bredco. This port already played a vital role in maritime transport and spurred economic activity and development not only in the city of Bacolod but in the whole province as well," Palanca said in his letter.
He said that the proposed port development of PPA is haphazardly done and has no concrete study on the impact to the private port operator such as Bredco, which for the past more than 40 years, invested more than a billion pesos in the reclamation project and establishment of the port for Bacolod.
"This proposed port development by PPA at Barangay Banago is in close proximity, if not side by side, with Bacolod Port. A new port in Bacolod City will not only threaten revenues at Bacolod Port but eventually it will kill private port operation, which in the end, it is the City of Bacolod that will suffer," Palanca said.
He said the port operation handled by PPA is not a popular idea in the port industry.
Palanca cited the PPA construction of Roro facilities at Danao Port where the existing Yap Port ceased its operation due to business losses by reason of the competition instituted by PPA at Danao Port, which is the construction of Roro facilities.
He said that the same thing would happen to Bacolod Port if PPA will be allowed to construct Roro facilities in Banago because there is already an existing Roro facility at Bacolod Port.
Putting up another one will not spur economic activity but will only create competition between Bacolod Port and the PPA Port, Palanca said.
He said that PMO-Pulupandan had been dependent on its income derived from Bredco Port. He cited the annual income of PMO-Pulupandan as P40 million, 70 percent of which is derived from its share at the Bredco-managed Bacolod Port.
"The Pulupandan port project was classified as the most expensive project worth P416 million and in fact considered as a 'white elephant project' and that no less than the Commission on Audit questioned that 'white elephant project' of PPA."
"Instead of taking the challenge to make the Pulupandan Port a viable project having spent P426 million, PMO-Pulupandan is abandoning Pulupandan Port and embarking into another gigantic project spending millions of pesos for the establishment of Roro facilities in Barangay Banago," Palanca said.
"There could never be a justification to this project other than instantly killing private port operators which will eventually jeopardize the economic activity in Bacolod City," Palanca said.
He added in his letter to Roxas that no less than President Benigno Aquino III encourages the public-private partnership in developing local government units by embarking on projects.
The PPA and PMO-Pulupandan officials could not be reached for comment as of this writing.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 16, 2012.