By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – The modernization of the decades-old 80,000-square meter Sasa Port in Davao will commence next year, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced on Tuesday.
The mayor disclosed in her second State of the City Address that the government has allotted P2 billion to jumpstart the modernization of the port more than three years after attempts to start the project during the Aquino administration failed.
Duterte said the P2 billion will be allocated for the general upgrading of the general cargo berthing facilities and the port area to increase its capacity.
The proposed modernization for Sasa Port, the country’s third busiest and Mindanao’s major port, will push through after being recommended by the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the City Development Council under Mayor Duterte.
The modernization plan of Sasa Port became controversial in 2015 when the DOTr (formerly: Department of Transportation and Communication) under then Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya 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 from its 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.