Balicasag PPA port plan resurrected at AUDIO

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 12, (PIA)–There might be a little hope for Balicasag, Panglao and maybe Cabilao to set up their municipal ports to be supervised by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), but they have to redo the proposals to get the plan back on track.

PPA Engineering services Division chief Engr. Richard Elopre told members of the Association of United Development Information Officers in Bohol (AUDIO) meeting at the PPA Multi-Purpose Hall that there used to be a proposal for the PPA to help build Balicasag and Cabilao Ports.

Although technically beyond the jurisdiction of the PPA, as the proposed ports would be serving small motorized boats and are regulated by the Maritime Industry Authority of the Philippines (MARINA) and fishing boats by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the PPA would have all operated ports under their supervision, PPA chief safety officer and public information officer Archt Epelito Arao-arao bared.

Earlier, information officers who listened to the PPA mandates asked how the PPA determines the establishment of ports.

Concerned about the haphazard manner by which boat operators dock in Panglao’s tourism island Balicasag, Panglao Information Officer and Executive Assistant Danny Reyes asked if the PPA can help put up a port of sorts to streamline Balicasag dive, snorkel and island hopping operations and spare the tourists from the hassle.

Reyes said around 80 to 100 motorized bancas come to Balicasag every day and dock just everywhere.

On this, Archt Arao-arao explained that since the 1970’s creation of the PPA, it has predetermined ports based on revenues, income, size and strategic locations as part of PPA ports system, then which were strategically spaced less than 50 kilometers.

Balicasag happens to be less than 50 kilometers from Tagbilaran.

All [established] ports in the country shall be under the supervision of the PPA, Araoarao, who has almost 20 years of PPA work in his belt, cited the mandate of the office and added that in Bohol, the PPA also exercises supervision over municipal ports like Bien Unido, Loay and Alburquerque.

He said, “we evaluate, as we are mandated by law, to assess the capacity of the operator, private entities, individual private ports.”

For those starting to operate one, he advised, they should have approval and permission from PPA as the agency will have it under its supervision.

In Bohol, PPA operates the ports of Tagbilaran, Loon, Tubigon, Getafe, Talibon, Ubay, Tapal and Jagna.

But, for Panglao, Archt Arao-arao, who presented his presentation by soliciting ideas, insights or suggestions on how to further develop the PPA services, also leaked that the PPA in Tagbilaran may help endorse the project proposed to the Central Office.

Engr Elopre said a common port for Balicasag and Cabilao has been tackled way back but the move died, himself not privy to what had happened.

The PPA engineering chief even added that an ocular inspection has been completed then and resurrecting the plan would also restart the paper process.

For now, the establishment of a PPA supervised port in Balicasag could be a move supportive of the town’s efforts to regulate and streamline motorized banca operations as well as stop the degradation of Balicasag coral cover, the indiscriminate dropping of anchors ruining patches of marine coral gardens. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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