Sasa port project junked

THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board has decided to scrap the plan to pursue the P18.99 billion-Sasa Port modernization project.

 Following the decision of the board, Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary for operations Ana Maria Banaag said the project is remanded to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

 “The NEDA board confirmed the ICC (Investment Coordination Committee)’s (recommendation) to revoke the previous board approval of the Sasa Port,” Banaag said  yesterday in a press briefing at Malacañang, which was televised via the state network People’s Television.

 This meant, she said, that the previous NEDA Board approval on the project on Oct. 17, 2014 was recalled through the board’s new decision on June 27. The project was among those that were discussed by the board headed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

 The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) earlier requested the DOTr to ask NEDA to cancel the Sasa Port modernization project.

 In a newspaper report three months ago quoting Emma Susara, manager for commercial services department of PPA, the agency decided to request for the cancellation of the project because of the issues on the cost and parameters.

 “We cannot just drop it. We need to request for cancellation or closure,” Susara said.

 The project was supposedly up for bidding through public private partnership (PPP) but was suspended last year pending the completion of the study. The DOTr also needed to secure final clearances and approval from different government agencies, including the need to gain endorsement from the city council.

 The city council earlier passed a resolution opposing the project as the lawmakers observed that there was no consultation done regarding on the proposal.

 The PPP Center said in its website that “the project will involve the development of the existing Davao Sasa Port in Davao into a modern, international-standard container terminal that will improve trade access to Mindanao and the Philippines by providing a dedicated containerized port in the region.”

 “The private partner will finance the construction and modernization of the existing port including the new apron, linear quay, expansion of the back-up area, container yards, warehouses, and the installation of new equipment like ship-to-shore cranes and rubber-tyred gantry over the pre-agreed concession period,” PPP Center added.

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