Former Bacolod Vice Mayor Renecito Novero yesterday said the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. is opposed to the putting up of a public seaport in Banago, for practical, legal and economical reasons.
That is because there is already an existing public seaport – the BREDCO port at the Reclamation Area – that is titled and in the name of Bacolod City, he said.
Novero, one of the counsels for BREDCO, said it is not correct to say that whatever is to be constructed at the Banago Port would be the first public port in Bacolod because there is already an existing one.
“That is definitely a wrong announcement. But maybe for lack of knowledge about the historical antecedence of the thing, we can forgive the inaccurate announcement about the matter,” he said.
Novero said they will not bar further developments in Banago but they will oppose attempts to ruin the prospects of the existing port owned by the City of Bacolod.
The government should be supportive of private investment and not be a competitor, he said.
Novero said the BREDCO port belongs to Bacolod although the city or national government did not spend a single centavo for its construction. It is BREDCO, headed by Simplicio Palanca, that spent almost P2 billion for the construction of the port, excluding the reclamation area, since 1995, he said.
Because of that, the city gave BREDCO a contract for 25 years to operate and recoup its investments, with an option for another 25 years, Novero said.
Under the contract, the port will have to be ceded and given to the city, he said.
Novero said the BREDCO port is called a commercial port since it is operated by a private entity by reason of a contract between the city and a private investor. And since it is owned by the government, it is a public port, he said.
The Philippine Ports Authority is aware that they should not put up another port about one or half a kilometer distance from another existing port, Novero said. It is not in accordance with the policy of the government, he said.
“If you put up another port maintained by the government, you will be constructing a port that will provide an unhealthy competition between two government ports. You will also be providing an unfair competition between the government and the private investor,” Novero said.
He said they will not take this with their hands down. “We will definitely raise all legal issues that are valid and practical”, he added.
The PPA appropriated P18 million for the repair of the Banago passenger terminal and P35 million for the repair of the causeway, or a total of P53 million.
Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez Jr., in a press statement, earlier, said he intends to develop Banago into the city’s first public port but he cannot go full swing because the mayor has not yet issued the port zone delineation resolution.
Novero said if Golez wants a resolution for port zone delineation, he should go to the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Councilor Caesar Distrito had said that in so far as the SP of Bacolod is concerned, there is no request for a port zone delineation coming from the Office of Golez or anybody.*CGS