PGMA opens new Ro-Ro port in Masbate

May 27, 2010 8:36 pm 

SAN PASCUAL — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo inaugurated here on Thursday a new RoRo (roll-on-roll-off) port which is expected to boost inter-island trade and commerce in this central region of the archipelago.

The P46.39-million port which was constructed under the Strong Republic Nautical Highway Project of the President is part of the central nautical highway under her 10-point “Beat the Odds” program.

Aboard a Bell helicopter, the President arrived here with Transportation and Communication Secretary Anneli Lontoc at 10 a.m. amidst a slight drizzle which the crowd of more than a thousand considered “a great blessing.”

The town has been reeling from a drought since November brought about by the El Nino weather phenomenon.

Wearing a hooded raincoat, the President was welcomed by San Pascual Mayor Zacarina Lazaro, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Assistant General Manager for Operations Raul Santos, Masbate 1st District Representative Narciso Bravo Jr., PNP RD C/Supt Cecilio Callepo, Jr. and AFP 903rd Infantry Brigade Commanding Officer Col. Joselito Bernardo.

The President proceeded to cut the ceremonial ribbon formally inaugurating the San Pascual port and its new RoRo facilities.

She proceeded to the PPA building where she was briefed by Santos.

During the briefing, Arroyo said the new port connects Burias Island to the entire country. Using a map of the island, she illustrated how the nautical highways in the Bicol region created under her administration, would serve to ease the flow of commerce and trade.

"Ports are important part of my 10-point program — to connect the entire Philippines in transportation. And Burias is a part of our 10-point program," she said.

A 57-kilometer national road, which is now under construction, will connect the newly-opened port with another port located in Claveria town,

In the central nautical highway plan, San Pascual port will be the entry point of cargo and passenger vessels from Pasacao port in Camarines Sur and San Andres port in Quezon. Claveria port will be the exit point of local products to Masbate.

The President said that with bigger ports, trade and commerce between and among neighboring islands become very active and progressive.

The construction of the new RoRo port, started in July 26, 2007, and was completed on January 21 last year.

It has expanded facilities that can accommodate bigger cargo and passenger vessels passing through routes to and from Quezon, Masbate, Romblon, Cebu and Davao.

After the briefing, the President inducted into office incoming officials of San Pascual led by Rep-elect Narciso Bravo, Jr., Mayor-elect Jojo Rivera and Vice Mayor-elect Zacarina Lazaro.

This is the first time that President Arroyo is visiting this town. Her father, the late former President Diosdado Macapagal, came here with her mother Dr. Evangeline Macaraeg Macapagal on Dec. 28, 1962.

Considered as the "bridge between Luzon and Visayas,"San Pascual is bordered by Camarines Sur in the north, Albay in the east, Bundok Peninsula of Quezon in northwest, Sibuyan Island of Romblon and Ticao Island of Masbate in the south.

Its port is a sanctuary for cargo vessels during tropical storms. (PNA)

DCT/OPS/ssc

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