President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the launch Thursday of the Puerto Princesa Seaport Expansion Project seen to boost economic activity in the province as the country gears toward recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am excited to see the outcome of this new infrastructure, which is envisioned to boost growth in Palawan and its nearby areas,” President Duterte said during the inauguration at the Puerto Princesa Port in Palawan.
“This development is expected to accommodate increased vessel traffic, facilitate efficient handling of cargo, and enhance the port’s productivity.”
The newly expanded port is expected to boost the main gateway port of the island and reinforce its role in expanding transportation connectivity and enhancing economic and tourism activities in the province as well as in other parts of the country.
The President commended the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) for completing the expansion project, describing it as a significant milestone under the administration’s Build, Build, Build Program.
Completed in July this year, the Puerto Princesa Port Expansion Project featured the construction of additional back-up area. The new facility will enable the port to be more productive, particularly its long-haul connection to Metro Manila and planned connectivity to the island of Mindoro via the Port of Bulalacao.
For the past five years, the Puerto Princesa Port underwent several expansions and improvements to address the needs of its users as the seaport serves as the province’s primary maritime gateway for commerce, trade, and tourism.
Around 1,500 international and local vessels dock at Puerto Princesa Port each year, and it also handles approximately 1.7 metric tons of cargoes. Some 200,000 passengers use the port annually, including almost 6,000 cruise-tourism passengers.
Meanwhile, as the government bolsters connectivity in the province, President Duterte said his administration is also looking at fortifying maritime security in the area.
During the event, the Chief Executive read the proclamation for the commissioning of the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) recently acquired Cessna Caravan Plane as PCG 2081 Aircraft and unveils the station marker of the PCG Kalayaan Station.
“I would like to stress again that I’m reading this maritime security because I said I’m ordering Secretary Tugade to buy mga tatlong eroplano pa, so apat,” he said.
“As President, I assure you that we will uphold our territorial integrity no matter what the circumstance is. This aircraft is also equipped to undertake efforts and missions to transfer and deliver vaccines and test kits without affecting their lifespan or efficacy.”
The PCG air asset could also be used in carrying out important missions such as search and rescue, maritime patrol and surveillance, air ambulance utility roles and other duties to help the people particularly during the current pandemic.
Also present on Thursday were Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago, and Palawan local officials. PND