(Republished from KANAAS)
In Resolution No. 063-2011 dated July 16, 2011 the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Bogo makes a bold declaration of the City’s aspiration: to position the City as a regional logistics center and to develop the Polambato Port in preparation thereof.
The aspiration is hinged on the City’s God-given strategic advantage that made it a natural springboard for people and goods going to the neighboring island provinces of Masbate and Leyte for a long time now. In addition, the city has always been some kind of a geographic bottleneck for people going to and from the nearby towns of northern Cebu, resulting in its becoming the hub of education and commerce in the north.
As far as transactions with the island provinces are concerned, this advantage was always the Bogo Bay with its cove that, with God’s grace and under San Vicente Ferrer’s benevolent watch, has always been a reliable shelter for seacraft in nasty weather. With the recent re-discovery of Polambato’s deep channel for big ships, interest in Bogo’s potential for inter-island shipping has been rekindled.
The City Government sees the potent reality of Bogo as Regional Logistics Center where manufactured goods from Manila get shipped down to the City for distribution around the region. It believes this is a sound alternative to the longer navigational time presently endured by the shipping industry in the belief that Cebu City is still the only place to land cargo for regional distribution. By longer navigational time, we are talking here of something like seven extra hours which, to shippers and shipping companies, mean unwanted downtime and unnecessary cost.
But if we are not yet seeing this reality on a scale that would put us on the map of big business, it is because some things have yet to be done. The Sanggunian is right in stipulating in the same Resolution that full-scale development of Polambato Port must be made with the Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) even if at various phases, in order to make it a true major gateway to the national nautical highway.
Right now, two shipping companies have already made Polambato a regular port of call: Super Shuttle for its Palompon, Leyte route; and Montenegro Shipping for its Cataingan, Masbate route. Recently, the latter has decided to add another ship twice the size of its present one, in order to accommodate increasing passenger and cargo traffic.
Other shipping companies have been sending feelers of their desire to field other routes also. In addition, there is a large molasses carrier and a sand and gravel carrier that have become regular customers of the Polambato Port. Definitely this bodes well for the dream that underpins the resolution.
In his talk with Engr. Mario Tan, Manager of the Engineering Services Department of the CPA, the Mayor was assured that the budget for the additional 40 meters of plank area as extension to the present capacity of the Port is already available. They expect the project to be bid by October and that, hopefully, implementation will start by November of this year. With the implementation of this project, the present port slipways will also be modified to maximize berthing capacity.
He was also assured that the curved nature of the channel makes it expedient for lighted buoys to be placed for further navigational safety. For the same reason, the sand bar that lies along the passageway will also be lighted, while it could not yet be extracted. More dredging is also in line for its next projects to further widen the turning basin, especially for bigger and longer ships.
With these developments soon taking place, it is imperative that Bogohanons ready themselves in order to share and contribute to the City’s march to progress. Probably, old ways of thinking and doing things need to be critically revisited. It is well to remember a line from one of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poems that goes, “The vine still clings to the moldering wall, but at every gust the dead leaves fall.”
It would be sad indeed when the march of progress comes and our constituents will just be watching by the wayside and later be staring at the marchers’ behind.
KANAAS GIKAN SA AMIHANAN
OCTOBER 2011 VOL. 1 NO. 2