BATANGAS, Philippines – The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in Batangas feels the prospect of making the port a hub for international cruises is “not so good."
Lawyer Leopoldo Biscocho, PPA Batangas Port manager, said there were a lot of factors to consider and the port may not be ready soon.
“Not in the next 5 years. It would require additional investment in the part of PPA, such as capacity requirements and security matters,” he said.
Biscocho also said that, unlike Palawan which is home to El Nido and Coron, tourist destinations in the province are not very accessible from the port.
“Yung mga tourist destination from here medyo malayo pa, kahit yung mga beach or even Tagaytay. If you bring them to Manila you have to ferry them for about 70 kilometers so this may not be attractive to tourists,” he added.
The continuous development in the province has also created the problem of traffic congestion. The traffic can be bad, not just in going to Manila, but also in travelling to the towns within Batangas.
Officials are confident, however, that this will be resolved once the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) completes building access roads in various districts, a project that has an approved P8 billion budget from the national government.
Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas has consistently mentioned tourism as one of they key areas of development in the province. On several occasions he publicly articulated his desire to develop Batangas port as a hub for international cruises.
According to Batangas Provincial Tourism Officer Atty. Sylvia Marasigan, the governor is doing exploratory talks with cruise companies as of now.
“Currently, the Provincial Engineering Office is doing rehabilitation / dredging of Batangas port for cruise ships to enter,” she added.
The provincial government has also allocated P200 Million for the revival of the Batangas Port Livelihood Center for Build-Operate-Transfer projects in the compound.
Based on the presented development plan, the building will house 3 floors, with a pasalubong (souvenir) center on the ground floor, restaurants and specialty stores on the 2nd floor, and a VIP passenger lounge, hotel, and commercial spaces for personal services on the 3rd floor. – Rappler.com