By Celeste Anna R. Formoso
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 3 (PNA) -– Basic ground works for two new roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ports have started in two towns in northern Palawan in a bid to strengthen the province’s sea connectivity to other regions in Luzon and in support of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Vision 2025 transportation and trade targets.
Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Member Albert Rama told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview early Monday afternoon that the two new RORO ports are being eyed to soon operate in Barangay Borac, Coron and Barangay San Fernando, El Nido – two highly tourist-frequented towns in northern Palawan.
“Groundwork have already started for these two RORO ports after we, in the committee, approved the provincial government’s application for endorsement for Forest Land Use Agreement (FLAg),” said Rama, who is the chair of the SP’s Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
FLAg is a special land use permit or agreement granted by the state “to a person to occupy, possess and manage in consideration of specified return, any public forest lands for a specific use or purpose.”
Rama disclosed further that the RORO projects will be in partnership between the provincial government and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), although he cannot say yet how much budget was identified for the implementation.
“There is no reason why this project should be delayed, particularly because it is the goal of the leadership of the governor (Jose Alvarez) to connect Palawan to other areas to amplify its other economic potentials,” he stated, adding the upcoming ports would also be linked up to the BIMP-EAGA connectivity via Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia.
He said that a recent visit to Kudat showed the port there has been completed, and is ready to welcome any trade and tourism opportunity from the Philippines through Palawan also.
Under the BIMP-EAGA, the transport cluster’s goal is to connect sub-regions via “seamless and safe multimodal transport.”
In Palawan, the priority is to establish a sea link from the town of Brooke’s Point in the southern area, to also Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.
The two future RORO ports in Coron and El Nido, Rama explained, will be connected to the BIMP-EAGA sea linkage to be able to attract tourists that would come from Sabah.
The island town of El Nido is a first class municipality and managed resource protected area in Palawan. It is about 420 kilometers (260 mi) south-west of Manila, and about 238 kilometres (148 mi) north-east of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital.
It is known for its white-sand beaches, coral reefs, limestone cliffs and as the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago.
Coron, on the other hand, is a first class municipality comprising the eastern half of Busuanga Island. Its main industries are fishing and tourism.