MANILA - Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) yesterday said that he believes that it is “unwise” to have two ports in Bacolod City, which is the center of the business district in Negros Occidental.
Benitez, who met recently with Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas, said he was told that it is not the policy of DOTC to create a port in every corner of the country.
The Bacolod Real Estate and Development Corp. had earlier asked DOTC to stop the development of the Banago port’s ro-ro facilities.
"Do we really need to have two ports? Let us qualify what is the port that we are talking about", Benitez said, in reply to the proposed Banago port development.
Mayors David Albert Lacson and Lourdes Escalante had also earlier proposed the development of their respective ports in EB Magalona and Manapla, Negros Occidental. There are also existing ports in Victorias, Cadiz, Sagay, Escalante and San Carlos cities in northern Negros.
The proposals, however, have not been acted on by DOTC, as of this time.
Citing the objective and policy of DOTC, Benitez, a businessman, said, “We cannot just build a port anywhere”. Economies of scale could be achieve by having a huge port in just one area, where big ships and vessels dock, to reduce cost and to create a better environment economically, he said.
"Government funds should not be used for making money. It is in the business of inducing business. So they should just put up proper infrastructure to induce business to come in", Benitez stressed.
Bacolod Councilor Carl Lopez, however, said having two ports will make the competition good.
BREDCO, through its president, Simplicio Palanca said the existence of two ports in Bacolod City will only make them kill each other.
PPA-Bacolod manager Enrique Fuentebaja, earlier said the re-operation of Banago port will not directly compete with BREDCO, instead, they would complement each other.
He said the Banago, port, being government-owned, should already operate so it will generate income that will benefit the people.*GPB.