By Ariel Fernandez
Connectivity going to and from Cagayan gets a much-needed boost as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Philippines Ports Authority (PPA) formally inaugurated the Port of Claveria in Cagayan province last Monday, February 3, 2020.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, together with PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago, led the blessing and inauguration of the port project in the municipality of Claveria, which started construction in 2017 and was completed in October 2019.
The port development project aims to help address the need of the province for an efficient network that integrates land, sea, and air transport systems. Among the works carried out in the port were the construction of the Reinforced Concrete Platform to serve as additional backup area, additional Roll-on/Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) ramp to handle increasing cargo traffic, restoration of the causeway, and road repair going to and from the seaport.
Secretary Tugade pointed out that the Port of Claveria is one of the many seaport projects being done by the Duterte administration to continuously improve connectivity and mobility not just for people, but also for goods and commodities across the country.
The transportation chief added that it is also a way of giving back to the place where he came from.
“May kasabihan ‘ho: “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa kaniyang pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” Kaya po ako gumagawa ng mga proyektong ganito kasi tumitingin po ako sa aking pinanggalingan – kung saan ako pinanganak, ito ‘ho ang Claveria.”
“I give you a project, the project of President Rodrigo Duterte, use it, enjoy it, but in Heaven’s name, please take care of it,” Secretary Tugade said.
For his part, PPA General Manager Santiago stressed that there was a need to construct the seaport in the municipality to establish economic linkages in the Cagayan Valley region that is highly in need of connectivity.
“Nakita kasi natin na kulang na kulang ang connectivity natin sa northern Philippines. Ang pinakamalapit na PPA port sa northern Philippines na nagco-connect sa Batanes ay dito sa Cagayan. Dislocated din ang Calayan Group of Islands so kinakailangan talagang magkaroon tayo ng mga pantalan dito para magkaroon ng accessibility doon sa mga northern islands natin.”
Local officials were also present at the inaugural, and they expressed their gratitude to President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program. They cited that the seaport will further enhance the upland and lowland communities’ trade, industry, and tourism activities.
“We’re very happy about this project. The governor has always said that the key to Cagayan’s development is ports,” said Atty. Maria Rosario Mamba – Villaflor, chief of staff of Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba.
“Magandang blessing ang Claveria Port kasi yung mga turista. Ang target po kasi ng ating mahal na mayor dito is Agri-Tourism. Of course, kapitbahay lang natin ang Ilocos, andami-dami pong mga turista diyan. Nabanggit nga po ng namumuno sa Ilocos na ibigay sa atin ang sobra-sobra nilang mga turista dito. From dito sa port na ‘to, pwede nang mag-dock ang international cruise ship,” 2nd District of Cagayan Board Member Archie Layus said.
Further, apart from the completion of the Claveria port, Secretary Tugade also pledged to finish his second project for the municipality, which is the Pata Lighthouse as well as the establishment of a Regional Office for the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for ease of doing transactions for the locals.