By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the Subic Container Port (SCP) offers an alternative solution to ease the traffic congestion in Metro Manila that have led to productivity losses of at least PHP 2.4 million a day.
“The use of the port must be optimized to clear the traffic jams,” said Alvarez who has been pushing for the modernization of the Subic port.
He noted that expanding the volume of the Subic international seaport is a “good idea” that will benefit not just Metro Manila but will spur economic growth in Central and Northern Luzon as well.
“SCP has a capacity of 600,000 containers but as of last year, it received only around 123,000,” said Alvarez, also secretary-general of President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party PDP-Laban.
He said this would mean that the port can easily absorb north-bound cargoes, as shown by a study made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
JICA said there is also cost advantage ranging from $100 to $200 per container for shippers from Pampanga and Zambales to ship through Subic instead of passing through Manila ports.
The study showed there is a capacity shortage of 14 million containers for the Pacific Region, with Singapore already reaching its limit and Hong Kong remaining severely silted.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said the proposal will translate to more economic activities in Subic and in neighboring areas.
“This means more jobs and more opportunities. These can hopefully translate to social development to that part of the country,” he said.
“This plan, coupled with increased infrastructure spending particularly on interconnecting roads, alternative highways like C6 and bridges across the island of Luzon will definitely solve a lot of urban management, environmental and economic issues,” he added.
SCP is a significant component of the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD) strategy, which includes the construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTex), and the Clark International Airport to form a global logistics hub and international gateway for Central Luzon.
Earlier, experts also noted existing road networks leading to and from Manila North Harbor can no longer accommodate the high volume of cargoes, resulting to a perennial traffic congestion in the areas.
The Metro Manila Development Authority has identified seven choke points along Edsa and the roads leading to Manila North Harbor, namely the Circumferential Road-3 (C-3 Road), A. Mabini Street, Dagat-Dagatan Avenue, North Bay Boulevard and Radial Road 10 (R-10), as among the priority traffic-prone areas where emergency powers for Duterte will be needed the most.