By Rey Anthony Chiu | 09:59 PM October 30, 2021
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte landed by chopper in this port of Tagbilaran, October 29, 2021, a move that would have been unthinkable, had it happened in the same date, eight years ago.
By then, in October 29 of 2013, the port of Tagbilaran was a sorry mess, one of the numerous government infrastructure projects that were in rubbles, in the October 15, 2013 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol so hard, nobody would believe rehabilitation could happen this fast.
And in an unprecedented move in the country’s history, President Duterte, along with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Santiago, simultaneously inaugurated Seven Seaport Development Projects (SSDP) in Bohol, most of which were affected by the same earthquake in 2013.
The inauguration was part of the government’s billion-peso worth of seaport investments poured into one province, said Bohol Governor Arthur Yap.
The inauguration, according to the president will establish the island province as a catalyst for economic recovery and growth, while fulfilling mobility demands amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is just part of the major seaport infrastructure which President Duterte’s administration poured to Bohol from 2018 to present.
The SSDP projects were part of the government’s Build, Build, Build Program which started when the President took office in 2016.
Before this inauguration, the government has already spent considerable amount of still more project packages.
The government through the DOTr and PPA completed the P796,428,106.70, its latest spending for the expansion, rehabilitation, and modernization projects of the seven Bohol ports.
PORT OF MARIBOJOC
The port of Maribojoc comes as the biggest funded project this time, with the P480,948,770 port improvement of the existing rock causeway, which was damaged by the 2013 earthquake.
Started in 2018, of left untouched for five years, now, the port was extended, has already a back-up area with a Roll-On, Roll-Off (RORO) ramp on fill, port lighting system and breasting dolphins that will keep berthing vessels from pressing into the pier, which is especially important for the Habagat.
PORT OF UBAY
Although already built, the shallow waters of the port area discourages vessels from making ship calls here.
The government settles this by extending and constructing a reinforced concrete pier, apart from early dredging activities.
Completed in 2020, the port can now handle medium-sized conventional and RORO vessels, and with the increasing number of passengers, with the pier extension and a Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) which is soon to be completed, the government spent some P95,897,552.51 for this port.
PORT OF TAGBILARAN
Bohol’s main seaport, the port of Tagbilaran, also the baseport of the PPA in Bohol, had the biggest funding, but these were stretched from 2016 to present, the major highlights include the construction of the Port Management Office building, a PTB, covered walkways, lighting facilities, security fences and port reinforcement after the 2013 earthquake.
But with some estimated 9,000 passengers passing through served by the 30 vessels daily to and from Cebu, Dumaguete, Siquijor, and Mindanao, the present PTB is always cramped, while berthing boats sometimes need to be on wait, until a berth is freed, before they can dock.
To this, DOTr and the PPA constructed additional berthing spaces for fast crafts, covered walks ways for P88,032,936.61 for a total of 16 berthing areas, excluding the already set 6 RORO berths earlier completed.
PORT OF TAPAL in UBAY
Located a few kilometers from Ubay to the northeast is a port that mostly serve the island of Carlos P. Garcia, and, being situated in one of the deepest port waters, the port of Tapal is perfect for the service of heavy cargoes brought in by vessels with indefinite schedule of calls.
This then needs much wider and bigger back-up area for loading cargoes, and RORO ramp on fill that in 2018, the government funded P56,285,488.85 for the Tapal Seaport Development Project.
Today, the port acts as supplementary port for Bohol’s bigger ports and now has a regular ferry service for CPG.
PORT OF TALIBON
Serving at least 8 island barangays in town and a regular trip to Cebu and back, the fact that Talibon is closer to Cebu than Ubay, and with the island community’s dependence on this infrastructure, the safety of commuting public was a major consideration in improving the port to handle heavier cargoes and the increasing passengers, said PPA authorities.
For the sea port development, the government saw the repair of the port facilities including the port retaining walls, construction of covered walkways, security fences, guard house and gate as well as a welcome arch, allocating P27,675,111.50.
PORT OF JAGNA
The port of Jagna is Bohol’s main gateway to Mindanao, about 63 kilometers away, the port is directly facing Cagayan de Oro and the Nasipit Port of Butuan.
Over the years, the decades old port, gradually increased its operational area, a 400 passenger PTB, CCTV cameras, x-ray scanner, two RORO ramps and a transit shed for perishable goods that come in from Mindanao. The increasing volume of passenger traffic and ship calls has make it imperative for a port upgrade, PPA said.
The government then put up P23,122,688.80 for the construction of a reinforced concrete wharf and port lighting facilities, refurbishing the PTB, wharf widening and electrical repair and revamp for the facilities, completed in 2020 and is expected to increase passenger volume, shipcalls and RORO traffic.
PORT OF CATAGBACAN in LOON
Already identified as a cruise ship port in Bohol, the Port of Catagbacan in Loon continues to get national government funding in support of tourism as well as inter-island traffic to Argao in Cebu.
Recently however, stepping closer into its accreditation as an international port of call to cruise ships, the government put up P14,465,598.42 for the setting up of a new PTB that should give local transients and tourists comfort and convenience while in the facility, waiting for their schedule trips.
The project was completed in 2019.
According to PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago, the projects would help prepare the province to handle future mobility and connectivity demands not only in the Visayas region but also to the rest of Mindanao and mainland Luzon.
For these, President Duterte commended the DOTr, under Secretary Tugade and the PPA “for successfully completing the projects that mark another milestone under our Build, Build, Build program.”
“The constructions and repairs done in these ports will allow Bohol to accommodate more people and goods from neighboring provinces and contribute much to the province’s recovery from the pandemic. I am also confident that these ports will strengthen the capacity of Bohol as a catalyst of economic growth in Central Visayas,” President Duterte said.
The Bohol seaport projects form part of the 472 commercial and social-tourism port projects completed by the DOTr and PPA, under the Build, Build, Build program, since the Duterte administration took over in 2016. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)