LAMITAN CITY, Basilan -- The City Government announced that it will start implementing “ambitious projects” like the shipyard and power plant construction to propel its economic activity.

Mayor Roderick Furigay said he already had initial talks with the shipbuilders in Cebu who are looking for an ideal harbor “where they will transfer their shipbuilding activities.”

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“Lamitan City has a fine harbor and cheap labor,” Furigay said as he expressed high hopes that such ambitious project could be realized.

Furigay said he has initially identified the village of Balamban as the possible harbor site for shipbuilders who are looking for another place to transfer.

The mayor said he already conferred with the officials of the Basilan Electric Cooperative (Baselco) for the construction of a power plant solely for Lamitan City.

“They are more than willing to construct one in Lamitan City to improve the supply of electricity in our place,” Furigay said.

He said the implementation of the two projects plays a very important role in the city. “Shipbuilders need sufficient supply of electricity for building steel-hulled boats.”

“I think the construction of a power plant should be the first, then followed by the shipbuilding yard,” he added.

Furigay said the other ambitious project, which has already started last year, is the completion of “our port expansion.”

He said the City Government has already reclaimed at least 2,000 square meters “in connection with our port expansion program.”

He said the construction of a port terminal is also in the pipeline and would be implemented once the port expansion project will be completed.

The completion of the port expansion is to attract the coming in of investors, citing Lamitan port could already accommodate bigger passenger and cargo ships, he said.

Furigay said he is optimistic they could realize the implementation of the ambitious projects after the recent Supreme Court's decision affirming the cityhood status of Lamitan.

Furigay said that as a city, they are entitled to receive an Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of P230 million annually, which could be used to finance the implementation of the projects.

Lamitan City, aside from Isabela City, the province's capital serves as the trading center for Basilan's 11 towns and two cities. (Bong Garcia)