Mayor eyes PPP for Ortiz port dev’t

A GUIMARAS-bound pump boat departs Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo City. (DG file)

A BUSY but in bad shape Ortiz Port in Iloilo City might get a major makeover under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

Mayor Jerry P. Treñas is planning to develop Ortiz Wharf through PPP to continue its carrying capacity and convert it into a standard facility for convenience of commuters.

“Even with the new Parola ferry terminal and future construction of bridge linking Guimaras, people will still be using Ortiz port because it is near and convenient. We will be looking if there are interested investors. The City Government will not spend for the project,” Treñas said.

The mayor noted he allotted budget when he was congressman for the rehabilitation or major repair and improvement of Ortiz Wharf including demolition, removal and replacement of existing dilapidated concrete stairs, and construction of parapet wall or railings.

Ortiz Wharf is temporarily closed until Nov. 17, 2019 as the Iloilo City District Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways is currently implementing the restoration works.

The public is advised to proceed to Parola terminal where pumpboats are operating bound for both Jordan and Buenavista towns in Guimaras.

Ortiz Wharf which serves as gateway to Jordan, Guimaras, has increased capacity during Holy Week and summer season due to influx of tourists visiting Bala-an Bukid or Holy Mountain, white sand beaches, and taking a taste of the island’s world’s sweetest mangoes.

Iloilo Economic Development (ILED) Foundation executive director Francis Gentoral agreed that the PPP proposal will address perennial problems and provide long-term solution to transform the site for tourism and economic purposes.

“It’s a good idea that needs to be implemented as soon as possible. Given that the national government may not have enough infra budget, the City Government should explore PPP as one modality for financing. Ortiz port development should also consider the social and environmental impacts to the barangay,” Gentoral said. (PIO)