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66 RORO projects placed on the chopping block – PNoy

August 3, 2011 11:14pm

Sixty-six roll-on, roll-off (RORO) port projects are in danger of cancellation after a Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) review found that they are unnecessary and the savings from discontinuing them will mean savings of up to P15 billion.

“Pinag-aaralan po nila Secretary Roxas, mukhang lumalabas po ang talagang kailangan natin anim na lang, pero 72 po yung nakakontrata," President Aquino said.

The 72 RORO projects are in a $218-million loan package French financial giants BNP Paribas and Calyon Credit Agricole CIB put together and extended to the DOTC.

Aquino also revealed Tuesday during his visit to Tagbilaran, Bohol that some of the proposed ports will be built along storm paths, a situation that frees the contractors from having to give project warranties.

“Ang masakit pa ho nito, yung mga ports ay ilalagay sa mga lugar na may panganib. ‘Yun bang doon dumadaan ‘yung bagyo, malalakas ang alon, ‘pag itinayo mo wala na yung warranty nung kontratista dahil wala doon sa quality yung sinasabi niyang pag dito niyo nilagay iwa- warranty namin ng X number of years," the President explained.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang said Malacañang has not reached a final decision although officials are trying to determine if cancellation is doable because the RORO projects “were clearly not in the public interest".

Carandang revealed that the projects have “many technical problems, the way it was done… If there's something anomalous with the whole deal. What can be done about it?"

Proponents may sue govt

Aquino said the RORO proponents can sue government in international arbitration courts. French consortium Eiffel Matiere has threatened to take the government to court.

“(Kung) kakanselin natin iyung kontrata, idedemanda raw tayo ng kontratista. Pag dinemanda tayo, masakit. Iyung pinalitan ko po pumayag na doon sa ibang bansa tayo magdedemandahan. Totoo po iyan, hindi ako nagbibiro. Nandoon po sa kontrata, kung merong hindi pinagkasunduan — foreign assisted po ito, eh — doon tayo sa ibang bansa," Aquino said.

If and when the RORO projects end up cancelled, President Aquino wants the savings used for other public works like the proposed P8.4-billion Panglao Airport for Bohol.

But the President himself acknowledged that this airport project is also under review because of “concerns or issues raised with the location and sub-soil."

He wants the DOTC to do a comparative analysis on expanding the existing airport and building a entirely new one.

In 2010, 334,000 visited Bohol and other Central Visayas provinces, according to Tourism Secretary Albert Lim. He expects tourist traffic to jump by 50 percent when the new Panglao Airport is operational.

"I expect Panglao to be an attraction in the country. I paid a lot of attention to Bohol, and in Panglao which I foresee to be a future Bali. I could see it developing already," Lim said.

A recently-opened destination is the Panglao Bluewater Resorts of the Bluewater chain in the country. The other two Bluewater resorts are in Mactan and Sumilon in Cebu.

Panglao Bluewater general manager Marty Jastillana said they have 54 rooms now but expect to add 100 more rooms over the next two to three years. Amita Legaspi/ELR/VS, GMA News
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