By Nestor Abramatea
TACLOBAN CITY – Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade has belied reports on the planned establishment of an international port in the town of Babatngon, Leyte.
Tugade said his office and even the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) have no idea or any plans to construct an international port in Leyte or in Babatngon town.
“We have no idea or plans to put up an international port in Leyte. It is not easy to construct an international port because of so many factors needed in establishing an international port,” Tugade said in an interview the other day in Maasin City.
Tugade said to construct an international port needs more demographic data and secondly there should be movement of cargoes to and from the port.
He also explained that another issue in establishing an international port is the availability of shipping lines that will serve or make a port of call.
Jay Santiago, general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in Manila also told the Manila Bulletin that they have no idea nor plans to construct such international port in Babatngon town.
The reports on the planned construction of an international port in Babatngon, Leyte some 25 kilometers north of Tacloban City, have been going on several years now and some prominent people in Tacloban City have started buying lots in said town in anticipation of such international port construction.
At present, the Tacloban City Port is the one servicing the northern part of Leyte and it is undergoing expansion to serve more cargo vessels coming to Leyte.
The port has no more commercial ships that call after the MV Doña Paz and MV Doña Marilyn sea tragedies where thousands of Leytenos and Samareños perished in 1986 and 1987 sinking.
Some cargoes bound for Leyte and Samar are now being transported to Tacloban City through cargo forwarding services as it is delivered direct to business establishments in Tacloban City and in Leyte and cargo forwarders return back to Manila with junks as back loads.