Category Archives: Manila Bulletin

Expanded Sasa Wharf seen to boost economy in Davao

DAVAO CITY – Economic boom continues to be experienced in this southern frontier city as more domestic and international vessels are expected to come in with the newly expanded Sasa Wharf here, government officials said yesterday.

Officials of the Regional Development Council (RDC), Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said the expanded Sasa Wharf is all set for the arrival of more cargo vessels from Southeast Asia, the United States, Middle East and the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“This Mindanao’s southern frontier city has become more and more progressive and developed while income and employment generation is also soaring high,” said MEDCo chair Virgilio Leyretana.

The MEDCo, RDC, PPA and even the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and National Economic Development Council (NEDA) have projected that the Sasa Wharf expansion will be noticed in the global economic activity.

Last week, President Arroyo spearheaded the inauguration of the R420 million Davao Port Expansion Project at the Sasa Wharf here.

The port expansion project has two components – Phase I, which involves the rehabilitation of an existing 42.35 meter by 18 meter quay, and Phase II, which includes the construction of a 3, 179-square-meter reinforced concrete wharf, the 13,180-square-meter back up area, mooring and fendering area, drainage system, port lighting and rockworks.

Mrs. Arroyo is also eyeing to improve the services of the Roll-on, Roll-off (Ro-Ro) facility at the Sasa Wharf, Samal Island and in Pantukan, Davao Oriental.

The Ro-Ro project is one of the flagship programs of the Arroyo administration.

Sasa Wharf is also one of the premier export and import hubs in the country today, it was learned.

Last Thursday, Mrs. Arroyo came back here and met with prospective foreign investors from Thailand and China in the Island Garden City of Samal, in front of Sasa Wharf.

The Chief Executive toured the foreign investors at Samal Mariculture Park.

Mariculture Park has generated 9,000 jobs for the direct services and 6,000 jobs for ancillary services, it was learned.

Meanwhile, village officials in Sasa are anticipating more cargo handling and passenger vessels.

The local officials are also expecting more jobs with the newly completed Sasa Port expansion and that this development would become a factor for more businesses to sprout, such as eateries and restaurants.

Sasa Wharf is also less than two kilometers away from the Davao International Airport.

Barangay Sasa will also be hosting the R870 million Passenger Terminal Building project, which is a world-class quality, it was also gathered.

Along with the passenger terminal building, the project will include the development of parking areas and Ro-Ro ramp, a greeter building, and a gate complex.

Mike U. Crismundo (Manila Bulletin)

UK Magazine cites Davao City among top Asian 10 cities

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DAVAO CITY — In the latest selection of top 10 “Asian Cities of the Future” by London-based FDI magazine, which is exclusively published for the corporate world, Davao City is listed No. 10 together with two other Philippine cities – Quezon City (No. 7) and Cebu City (No 8).

The other Asian cities in the top 10 list are: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei (Taiwan), Melbourne (Australia), Dalian (China), Shijiazhuang (China), and Guangzhou (China).

This was reported by Andre Fournier, board member of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCI), during the weekly Club 888 media forum held at Marco Polo-Davao.

Fournier, chairman of DCCCI committee on Information Technology (IT), also reported that in the magazine’s listing of top five Asian Cities with the “best human resources,” Davao City was No. 5, together with four other cities — Singapore (1), Melbourne (2), Hong Kong (3), and Taipei (4).

The finance magazine used the following judging criteria: economic potential, cost effectiveness, human resources, quality of life, infrastructure, business friendliness and promotion strategy.

Member of its judging panel were David Kinnear, president of DDC HRO, a provider of process outsourcing solutions (New York); James Ku, manager of consultancy firm Tractus-Asia, Ltd. (Shanghai); Anupam Prakasi, Asia-Pacific leader in global sourcing and business transformation at HR consultancy firm Hewitt Associates (India); and Lawrence Yeo, CEO of international consultancy firm AsiaBIZ (Singapore).

Fournier said that despite its recognition in international business and finance as having good potentials as a global investment site, Davao City’s leaders – both in the government and private sector – should not rest on the city’s laurels, but strive more to develop and tap its potentials.

MOA on Davao LRT and Samal Bridge Projects signed

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DAVAO CITY – The Davao Integrated Development Program (DIDP), Mindanao Business Council (MinBC), MCC Capital Inc., a UK-based financial institution, and local government units in the Davao Region have signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on the proposed Davao Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the construction of a bridge in Samal.

Merly Cruz, assistant secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), reported that the projects were the results of the BIMP-EAGA investment conference held in this city last October.

“After follow through meetings and creation of a task force by the economic development committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC), we needed partners to provide us the resources. And so, this MoA signing formalizes the beginning of these projects,” she said.

Furthermore, Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, chair of DIDP, said that the provisions of the MoA, which is an overall agreement to initiate projects, include funding by MCC Capital.

In a report prepared by Wendel Avisado, executive director of the DIDP, it was stated that “the LRT system will serve the coastal builtup area of Davao City, as well as neighboring areas in Davao del Sur (Sta. Cruz), and Davao del Norte (Panabo City).”

He said that the project cost was R240 billion in 1997 when it was first proposed. “It is also proposed to be 60 kilometers in length and a BOT (build, operate, transfer) project,” Avisado said.

In a statement, Nicasio Angelo J. Agustin, vice chairman of the Davao regional office of the Regional Development Council (RDC 11), said that “the railway system will be initially established traversing the Tagum City-Carmen-Panabo City-Davao City-Sta. Cruz-Digos City highway. These areas comprise the “linear urban corridor” that serves as the hub of economic activities and social integration in the Davao Region. The cities in the ‘linear urban corridor’ are also among the major ‘growth centers,’ intended to strengthen and enhance existing economic zones and market exchange centers,” he said.

Meanwhile, it was reported the Samal bridge costs R6.48 billion. It is proposed to be 1,200 meters in length with two lanes and to have a vertical clearance of 22 meters.

Agustin said that the Samal bridge is “critical to spur development in the Island Garden City of Samal, and will serve as the link to the other growth centers in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental through the proposed roll-on/roll-off port facilities.”

On the proposed Davao Railway System, the China Railway Signalling and Communications Corp. (CRSC) has been tapped to construct the system.

It is an AAA credit grade enterprise specializing in railway construction, which corners over 70 percent of the market in nationwide railway system in China with over 50 years of railway construction system. The president of CRSC expressed confidence on the said projects.

“We will do our best to support the project and hope that the meeting can approve friendship between China and the Philippines,” he said.

MCC Capital Inc., through Mohammad Faisal Kasim, CEO, and John Tapp, director and company secretary, is optimistic about the projects. “We believe that MCC Capital can undertake the projects successfully because of the positive factors of growth in the Philippines when it comes to investments and business,” Kasim said. Nevertheless, Kasim added that less bureaucracy is important in doing good business here.

Vicente Lao, chairman of the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC), is also enthusiastic about the development in the projects.