Manila-Cebu-Davao port highway projects inked

The Philippine Reclamation Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Manila to pave the way for the establishment of a shipping superhighway across the archipelago involving a network of world-class international ports.

The 50-hectare reclamation in Tondo by Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc., the sister firm of Mega Harbour Port and Development Inc., the proponent of a similar but a bigger project in Davao City is expected to kick off in the second half of 2017, exactly a year after the signing of the agreement.

According to Mega Harbour chairman Reghis M. Romero II, the MOU entails only a number of documentary requirements for its final review and approval by the board of the National Economic Development Authority before its implementation.

He added that the same process is required of the Davao Coastline and Port Development Project, a joint venture between Davao City and Mega Harbour involving 200 hectares of offshore areas running parallel to the entire shoreline of Poblacion and Agdao districts.

The agreement on the joint-venture project was signed last June 21 by Romero and then Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte before assuming the presidency.

“Another Mega Harbour project involving the reclamation of initial 85 hectares in Consolacion, Cebu will undergo the same process and complete the Davao-Cebu-Manila port network as the national backbone of this international shipping superhighway,” Romero said, citing the envisioned rise of First-World port cities in the strategic centers of the country’s three mainland regions.

“Satellite ports in selected areas surrounding those three key cities will constitute the port network and help democratize the distribution of national wealth and economic opportunities to the less privileged, thus improving their quality of life,” Romero explained, referring to President Duterte’s commitment to the masses.

“Going by the President’s policy, we will make the fruits of economic development, not just trickle down to the poor, but grow these right where they are,” Romero pointed out.

Referring to the social component of the project, Romero said PRA is involving the provision of potable water and power supply, a quality road network, flood control system, sanitation facilities, a green and pollution-free environment and promotion of entrepreneurial activities, among others, for the coastal communities of Poblacion and Agdao districts.

Constituting those communities up to Barangay Bukana are some 3,500 households or around 20,000 people.

Romero said the latest reclamation technology would be used in the Davao project and similar undertakings of Mega Harbour in other parts of the archipelago.

“The technology involves the use of choice marine sands for the reclamation and the clearing and filtration of silts from the site to ensure the stability of the sea bed. The silts, which may contain mud and toxic chemicals from precipitated industrial wastes, will then be dumped into a pit especially built for this purpose. The site where the pit will be constructed will depend on the recommendation of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources),” the port and infrastructure magnate explained.

Romero said the use of marine sands, instead of filling materials from land, would prevent water displacement that could make sea level rise and cause floods.

“Mega Harbour is also conducting a vulnerability assessment of the critical infrastructure in the surrounding areas so as to make the project’s wholistic design adapt accordingly and effectively,” Romero stressed.

Estimated to cost around P38 billion, the project implementation is expected to kick off in the second half of 2017, exactly a year after the signing of the agreement.
At present, PRA is conducting all the environmental, geological and technical studies required to ensure public safety in every aspect and generate lasting benefits for the public.