By Antonio L. Colina IV
Davao City – The proposed modernization of the decades-old 80,000-square meter Sasa Port here, the country’s third busiest and Mindanao’s top port, will push through under a public-private partnership, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) 11 director Maria Lourdes D. Lim said on Tuesday.
In an interview during the launch of the Davao Region Public-Private Partnership Knowledge Corner, Lim said the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) was already working on the draft of the terms of reference for submission to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and approval by second quarter.
Once approved, the project, projected to cost about P6 billion, will be scheduled for bidding, Lim added.
The modernization plan of Sasa Port became controversial in 2015 when the DOTr (formerly: Department of Transportation and Communications) under then Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya pegged the bid cost at P17 billion as recommended by German consultants hired by International Finance Corp. of the World Bank.
The cost was higher by more than three folds than the original cost of P4 billion set by the PPA.
The private sector here objected the planned modernization for alleged overpricing, while the City Council opposed it due to lack of prior consultation and no expressed approval of the local government.