P600M port work under review

THE Cebu Port Authority (CPA) will submit to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) its documents on a P600-million dredging project, for the new administration to review.

CPA General Manager Vicente T. Suazo Jr. said the project has long been approved by the Cebu Port Commission, the CPA’s policy-making body, but was held in abeyance, considering the change in administration at the end of June.

President Benigno Aquino III, in his State of the Nation Address last Monday, pushed for a Fiscal Responsibility Bill that will limit appropriations only to projects that have an identified source of funding.

He said the government needs at least P104.1 billion to implement a lot of approved laws that have not yet been realized.

Suazo said submitting the plans to DOTC Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus will also ensure the CPA’s actions stay consistent with the Aquino administration’s guidelines.

u201cWe have to work through the procedures again so that we can make the implementation of this project very transparent.

We think that’s also what the President wants,” Suazo said.

Under its charter, the CPA, a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), must be chaired by the DOTC secretary or by a designated undersecretary or assistant secretary.

If the project is realized, Suazon said, the Cebu International Port (CIP) will have a 12-meter draft (depth) from its present nine meters. The dredging will be done from CIP to the seawaters off the South Road Properties (SRP) so the channel will accommodate bigger vessels.

According to Suazo, the plan was for the P600-million project cost to be funded by a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). This will now depend on the DOTC secretary’s review.

Suazo also confirmed reports the CPA’s members tendered their courtesy resignations during their board meeting last July 23, to give President Aquino a free hand to choose his own managers for the Cebu ports.

u201cIt was really our intention. We leave it to President Noynoy to decide whether he will reappoint us or have us replaced,” Suazo said.

As this developed, Benjamin Akol, president of the Philippine Chamber of Arrastre and Stevedoring Operators, clarified he did not endorse a single person to be CPA general manager.

He said that based on his personal assessment, Suazo, Commissioner Angelo Verdan and CPA Deputy General Manager Dennis Villamor are all experienced, professional managers who have a common vision to manage the Cebu ports.

When asked who among the three are qualified to be CPA general manager, Akol said: “Any of the three will do.”


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