'Modernize the Port of Iloilo'
Senator Franklin Drilon urged the modernization of the Port of Iloilo which will play a critical role in the economic development of the whole Panay Island, amid the completion of major projects in the region.
Drilon said there is an urgent need for the upgrading of the port to enhance its shipping and cargo-capabilities, particularly due to the heightened economic activities to be generated by initiatives like the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project and the Iloilo Convention Center.
“It has been said that ‘a port makes a city.’ Indeed, ports are crucial to achieving growth and development, which is most especially true to regions such as the Panay Island whose people rely on ports for their livelihood,” said Drilon.
However, Drilon said he was worried that the lack of modern and efficient port facilities in Iloilo could hamper the growth of the province, and of the entire Panay Island.
“With the major development happening in the region, we can expect traffic surge at our ports in the coming months and years,” said Drilon.
“However, if we do not upgrade our port facilities, and they remain dilapidated, they could not be equipped to meet the demands for shipping services and cargo transport which we expect to escalate once we finish the Jalaur project,” said Drilon.
He said the government should set aside funds for the development and expansion of the Port of Iloilo, which is estimated to cost around P750 million.
The Port of Iloilo is considered to perform a central role in the trades of Visayas and Mindanao as a leading natural commercial hub that mainly handles bulk agricultural products.
The port consists of three terminals including the Old Foreign Pier (Fort San Pedro), the River Wharf and the International Commercial Port Complex (ICPC).
Drilon said the ICPC, which is the specialized terminal for handling cargo among the three, will have to be renovated to increase its cargo handling capacity. He added that the Philippine Port Authority (PPA) has committed to prioritize the modernization of the ICPC in the next two years.
Based on its website, the Port of Iloilo is ranked third in the country in terms of shipcalls at 11,853, fourth in cargo throughout at 491,719 million metric tons and fourth in passenger traffic at 2.4 million annually. /PR