Guv welcomes port development-A A +A
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said he welcomes the move of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Port Management Office (PMO)-Pulupandan to develop a roll-on, roll-off (Roro) facility at the Banago Port.
“It will be good for the province,” the governor said, noting the development would mean competition, lower fees and charges, and better port service.
Marañon said he will endorse the Banaga Roro facility because he believes its operation will not create losses but will only lessen the income of Bredco Port, Bacolod City’s public port.
He said the increase of incoming cargo to the province through Bredco has led to congestion in the port.
The governor, meanwhile, clarified that the Provincial Government has not endorsed the Banago port zone delineation that will spell out which part of the port and its foreshore area belong to the government and which part is covered by the Negros Navigation Company lease.
The lack of port zone delineation was cited last month by Bacolod lone district Representative Anthony Golez as the reason why the National Government cannot go ahead with its planned P700 to P800-million project to develop and modernize the Banago Port.
Marañon said the Provincial Government has nothing to do with the issuance of the port zone delineation because such authority is vested solely on the City Government of Bacolod.
He said it will be up to Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Transportation and Communications to assess the controversy surrounding the development of the Roro facility in Banago Port.
Lawyer Simplicio Palanca, president of the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation (Bredco), which operates Bredco Port, recently asked Roxas to stop the development of Roro facility in Banago.
According to Palanca in his letter to Roxas, the Roro facility in Banago will compete with and even lead to the closure of Bredco Port.
Bredco was granted the rights to the operation and management of Bacolod’s port, as embodied in the 1961 agreement between the city and Bredco.
Palanca also said the delineation of the port zone was not granted by the City Government because of the lack of study made on the impact to the economy of the city if ever two ports will be operated.
He said 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 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," he said.
"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 facility in Barangay Banago," he 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 added.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 17, 2012.