LAOAG CITY (PNA) – Local officials and residents in Ilocos Sur were elated Thursday, July 8, as they welcomed the inauguration of the expanded Salomague Port in Cabugao, poised to become one of the country’s cruise ports.
If not because of the pandemic, Ilocos Sur Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano said the newly improved port could have hosted a number of international cruise ships which commenced in early January last year.
“This is a dream come true for us in Ilocos Sur. This has not been in use for a long time but with its improvement, at least two cruise ships have landed here already last year. The third ship was supposed to arrive in March but we had a lockdown. But even if we were affected by the lockdown, we pursued this project because we need to prepare for the new normal,” said Savellano.
He also thanked the Duterte administration and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) led by Secretary Arthur Tugade and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) led by General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago for working behind the expansion of the project.
As part of the government’s economic recovery plans, the improvement of the Salomague Port which includes a reinforced concrete (RC) Platform Back-Up Area and RC Pier Extension hopes to increase cruise calls in this northern Luzon island which is strategically located near the popular beaches and heritage sites of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur provinces.
“After this pandemic, we are optimistic that we will be more prepared to hosts our tourists with the continuing development of the Vigan Airport as well as our road widening projects,” he said.
Tugade enjoined Ilocos residents to brace themselves for the new normal as he expressed confidence the improved port will entice more investments and job opportunities particularly in the tourism industry.
To complement the improved seaport, the Vigan Airport is also being upgraded to boost tourism in the area.
“Once the facelift of the Vigan Airport is complete, it can serve bigger aircraft which translates to more flights and passengers,” the DOTr said.
Other port projects in Sta. Catalina and San Esteban, also in Ilocos Sur, are also being improved to provide more opportunities for the Ilocanos.