BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The P153.5 million feeder port in Brgy. Old Sagay, Sagay City, Negros Occidental, is now ready for full utilization, not only for shipping of passengers, but also transporting goods to other areas of the country.
After almost five years of groundwork and construction, the 280-meter feeder port and fish landing were finally turned over on October 20 to the Sagay City local government, by the Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas through the Philippine Rural Development Project.
The World Bank funded project started its paperwork on October 2016. However, the timeline of the construction which supposed to start in December 2017, was extended because of the pandemic.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson who attended the turnover and blessing of the Sagay City feeder port, thanked DA, PRDP, and World Bank for the project, stressing that it will provide the needed push to improve production, optimize income capacity, and mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic to the agricultural sector.
Lacson also recognized the efforts of both former governors, Joseph and Alfredo Marañon, Jr., who started this initiative during their terms as city and provincial heads.
In unveiling the feeder port, PRDP Deputy Director for Western Visayas Jose Albert Barrogo said it will open more opportunities for shipping not just passengers but also in exporting goods of Sagay to other places in the country and will further increase its market value.
Barrogo reported that the project is expected to benefit at least 22,000 farmers and fisherfolk, as well as the nearby towns and cities in North Negros.
Of the feeder port total cost, he said that 80 percent of the funding came from World Bank, while 10 percent from the Department of Agriculture, and another 10 percent from the provincial government of Negros Occidental.
DA regional director Remelyn Recoter announced that more projects are yet to be turned over to Negros Occidental, such as farm to market roads, bridges, livelihood enterprises, among others.
Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva (2nd district, Negros Occ), in his message delivered by Sagay City Councilor Rodnel Delos Reyes, said he is grateful to DA-6 and the province for facilitating to realize the project, adding “this has been a dream of Sagay Mayors turned Governors Mayor Joseph and Alfredo Marañon.”
Cueva also said that the feeder port will give to more access to other ports in the country, and the export of agricultural and marine products from Sagay and nearby towns and cities will be more possible.
The Sagay Feeder Port has also a direct access to ports of Batangas, Estancia in Iloilo, Bantayan, Cebu City, Tabuelan, Cadiz and BREDCO in Bacolod City.
Cueva also said that the feeder port in Sagay City, also the home of the 180-hectare Northern Negros Agro-Industrial Export Processing Zone, makes easier the exportation of products.
The eco-zone is 11-kilometers away from the Sagay Feeder Port.
“Once we have our locators in our eco-zone, we can generate more employment and business opportunities,” Cueva said in his message.
Mayor Alfredo Marañon III and Vice Mayor Narwin Javelosa led the city officials in accepting the key of responsibility to maintain the operations of the feeder port.
Marañon admitted that there are more things that should be done to improve the feeder port, as he asked the help of the provincial government and DA-6 to realize these endeavors.
Lacson and Recoter also gave their nod of approval to the mayor to pursue projects related to improving the agricultural sector of Sagay.
The governor also said that the feeder port will create new opportunities, as he called on Sagaynons to continue practicing responsible fishing and farming.
“Let us meet our present needs without jeopardizing the ability of the next generation to meet their own,” Lacson said.*