Thursday, August 1, 2019

DOTr Inspects Major Transport Hubs in Batanes After Deadly Quakes

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has ordered to fast-track transport infrastructure development in Batanes, following the deadly earthquakes that struck the province on Saturday, 27 July 2019.

This directive came on the heels of a series of inspections conducted yesterday, 29 July 2019, by the DOTr Composite Team, headed by Secretary Arthur P. Tugade.

The inspections proceeded from the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte to departments and agencies to attend to the needs of the people of Batanes and to ensure the immediate restoration of transport mobility and connectivity in quake-stricken areas. 

The DOTr Composite Team also coordinated with local officials to ascertain that major transportation hubs can help effectively facilitate the distribution of relief goods to affected residents.

Secretary Tugade noted that the inspections of the DOTr Team is only the start of targeted assistance for the recovery and rehabilitation of Batanes.

“The inspections are concrete proof that the government cares for the people of Batanes. In this trying time for the province, we want to know that they are not alone. We immediately conducted steps to secure ease of movement of goods and people so that the recovery of the province will also come in swiftly,” Secretary Tugade expressed.

Officials comprising the Composite Team include DOTr Undersecretary for Maritime Fernando Juan Perez, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Santiago, and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino.


Upon arrival, transport officials inspected the Itbayat Airport, which has an ongoing runway extension project. Based on the assessment, CAAP DG Sydiongco proposed to improve the gateway’s viability for commercial, security and disaster relief purposes by having its runway extended from the current 942 meters to 1,200 up to 1,500 meters, if the terrain is conducive.

The Composite Team also inspected the Basco Airport. The DOTr and CAAP are jointly finalizing plans and designs to further extend the runway of this gateway by 120 meters, subject to the verification by a survey that will examine terrain and slope grade constraints.

At Basco Airport, as well, Secretary Tugade met with Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco and committed to extend the runways at both the Basco and Itbayat Airports. To expedite plans, CAAP engineers and personnel will be deployed to Batanes to conduct situation assessment in the province’s gateways.


The DOTr Team also proceeded to the Mauyen Port. Officials witnessed firsthand that access to the said port is made difficult due to landslides brought about by the quakes. As a result, PPA GM Santiago recommended looking for another location for the Port of Mauyen.

Officials also inspected Valanga Port, which is primarily used to transport people and goods to Itbayat Island. Additionally, Valanga Port is the only seaport that links Basco and Itbayat. Based on the assessment of the PPA chief, Valanga Port needs further improvements, such as expansion of backup area, berthing facility, and the provision of a passenger shed.

The third and final port visited was Basco Port. While it was not affected by the recent earthquakes, its backup area sustained damages from the recent Typhoon Falcon that hit the province midway this month. Additional structural engineers will be sent by the PPA to evaluate the damage. They will also look into prospective locations for the proposed breakwater of the said seaport.

During the inspection, Secretary Tugade assured that port repairs will commence shortly. He also tasked the PCG to deploy rubber boats to Itbayat, Basco, and Sabang Islands.

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