P40M Lamitan port expansion starts

LAMITAN CITY, Basilan (MindaNews / 27 September) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has provided P40 million for the expansion of this city’s port to be able to accommodate more vessels, especially for cargoes.

ARMM OIC Gov. Mujiv Hataman announced that he envisions to make the Lamitan port as the “direct link” of the autonomous region, not only of this province, to the key cities in the country.

“If we can ship our products, like rubber, directly to Subic where there are manufacturing firms, why not? It will boost our economy,” Hataman said.

Aside from rubber, the agricultural products of this province are coconut, coffee, black pepper and African palm oil, which are considered as among the high-value crops.

Hataman noted that at present, agricultural products of this province are being shipped to the other parts of the country through Zamboanga City.

Mayor Roderick Furigay said they would be able to accommodate more and bigger vessels from the present capacity of two vessels, including Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) boats, once the expansion of the port is completed.

Furigay said there will be an increase in business activity once the port expansion project is completed, citing “port is an important facility in moving cargoes and goods from and to a particular place like this city.”

He added that expansion of the port will also open opportunity to other shipping companies to ply the Lamitan City-Zamboanga City route and vice versa since there will be more berthing place.

At present, the Lamitan -Zamboanga route is only being served by two passenger ships owned by a Zamboanga City-based shipping company.

“Port is an important facility and this is our gateway to key cities in the country,” Furigay added.

Gov. Jum Akbar said the port expansion project is a welcome development since Lamitan City, with a bigger port, can be a major entry and exit points of goods.

Aside from this city, the capital, Isabela City, also serves as entry and exit points for cargoes and goods of the province.

Hataman, Furigay, and Akbar led the groundbreaking on Wednesday signaling the start of works for the expansion project. (MindaNews)