Build, Build, Build's last hurrah? Duterte inaugurates 8th port project in a week

President Duterte inaugurated his eighth port development project in a span of one week in what can be described as part of the last hurrah of "Build. Build, Build" under his administration.

President Rodrigo Duterte (center) attends the inauguration of the Puerto Princesa Seaport Expansion Project on Nov. 4, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

On Thursday afternoon, Nov. 4, Duterte was in Palawan to inaugurate the Puerto Princesa Seaport Expansion Project--an endeavor that is seen to boost economic activity in the province as the country gears toward recovery from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I am excited to see the outcome of this new infrastructure, which is envisioned to boost growth in Palawan and its nearby areas,” the Chief Executive said on his speech.

“This development is expected to accommodate increased vessel traffic, facilitate efficient handling of cargo, and enhance the port’s productivity," he noted of the project, which is part of the government's flagship Build, Build, Build initiative.

It was only last Oct. 29 when Duterte was in Bohol during simultaneous inauguration of seven local port projects. These involve the Maribojoc, Tagbilaran, Jagna, Ubay, Tapal, Loon, and Talibon ports.

The newly expanded Puerto Princesa is expected to boost the main gateway port of the island and reinforce its role in expanding transportation connectivity and enhancing economic and tourism activities in the province as well as in other parts of the country.

The President--who will step down from office on June 30, 2022--commended the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) for completing the expansion project, describing it as a significant milestone.

Around 1,500 international and local vessels dock at Puerto Princesa Port each year, and it also handles approximately 1.7 metric tons of cargoes. Some 200,000 passengers use the port annually, including almost 6,000 cruise-tourism passengers.

Completed last July, the seaport expansion project featured the construction of additional back-up area.

The new facility will enable the port to be more productive, particularly its long-haul connection to Metro Manila and planned connectivity to the island of Mindoro via the Port of Bulalacao.

For the past five years, the Puerto Princesa Port underwent several expansions and improvements to address the needs of its users as the seaport serves as the province’s primary maritime gateway for commerce, trade, and tourism.