Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez Jr. yesterday said the repair and renovation of the Banago Passenger Terminal and Port Management Office building in Brgy. Banago, Bacolod City which costs P18 million is just the first phase of the modernization plan of the port.
Golez, along with national and local officials of the Philippine Port Authority, city officials and representatives of various local government offices in the province, led the inauguration of the facility, and the improvement of the causeway of the port, yesterday.
The P18 million was appropriated by the PPA for the terminal and causeway, while the second phase will be the birthing facility for RO-RO and the reclamation, he said.
Golez said the project has been part of his priorities under the “Better Port, Better Bacolod” program because he has always believed that improving the PPA port facilities will raise the quality of service not only to Bacolodnons and Negrnses but the entire Filipino people.
Improving the PPA port and facilities will also make it more competitive for other commercial shipping companies to dock at the Banago port, and thus, open more possible routes from and to Banago port, he said.
Tomas Carlos, PPA Assistant General Manager for Operations, said PPA continues to collaborate with government officials so that port development needs will be addressed, in a speech read by Fernando Claveria Port District Manager-Visayas.
Carlos, who was the invited inaugural speaker, was not able to come yesterday since he has to attend a board meeting today.
Claveria assured that they will continue their ambitious program to help in the development of Negros and that they have other major programs in the pipeline.
Golez said he hopes the city will give a proclamation for a port zone delineation because that is the time the PPA can request for more funding for the modernization of the port so more tourists will come to Bacolod.
He said he already informed City Administrator Rogelio Balo about it last year.
Golez said “We complain that Negros has a monocarp industry and its economy is dependent on sugar. If Bacolod has development projects for infrastructure it will be easy to invite foreign and local companies to invest here and there will be job opportunities for the graduates.”
The only setback for the development of this port is the timely submission of a port zone delineation, Golez said. “We need to declare the boundaries of the Banago port before we can come up with the money,” he said. ”Our plan was going towards an international port,” he added.
Golez said Negros Navigation is willing to give its existing foreshore lease agreement it has to the government for as long as its area will be included in the development of PPA and the Department of Transportation and Communication.
Enriques Punetebaja, PMO-Pulupandan port manager, said PPA has been in existence in Negros Occidental for 34 years and now has 70 employees.
Also present were Francisquiel Mancile, Annie Lee Manese, Winfred Elizalde, port managers of PMO South Harbor, Dumaguete and Iloilo, respectively, with Executive Assistant to the Mayor Vicente Petierre Sr., and Councilor Carl Lopez.*CGS