DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 03 Oct) – The modernization of the decades-old 8-hectare Sasa Port in Davao will start next year, Mayor Sara Duterte announced during her 2nd State of the City Address on Tuesday.
Duterte said the national government allotted an initial budget of P2 billion to start the port upgrading, more than three years after attempts to start the project during the Aquino administration failed for lack of consultation with the city government, local stakeholders, and the private sector.
The mayor said the amount is for the upgrading of the general cargo berthing facilities and the port area to increase its capacity.
The modernization of Sasa Port, the country’s third busiest and Mindanao’s major port, was pushed through after being recommended by the Regional Development Council and the City Development Council under Mayor Duterte.
The modernization plan became controversial in 2015 when the Department of Transportation (formerly: Department of Transportation and Communication) under then secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya pegged the bid cost at P17 billion as recommended by German consultants hired by International Finance Corp. of the World Bank.
The cost was more than four times higher than its original cost of P4 billion set by the Philippine Ports Authority.
The private sector here objected to the planned modernization for alleged overpricing while the city council opposed it due to lack of prior consultation and absence of express approval by the local government. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)