The RDC VIII Executive Committee (ExCom) reiterated the prior endorsement of the RDC VIII Full Council for the conduct of a feasibility study and master plan of the Proposed Babatngon Port as the Regional Transshipment Hub of Eastern Visayas to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for Korean Government technical and financial assistance.

This came about during the RDC VIII Special ExCom meeting held on 27 March 2017 at the Felipina Hall, NEDA VIII Bldg., Government Center, Palo, Leyte. A resolution was passed to that effect during the said meeting, which was presided over by the newly appointed RDC VIII Co-Chair, Atty. Roy Bernard C. Fiel, the Council’s Private Sector Representative for Agri-business.

The DOTr has an existing Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Korea, with the Korean Government providing support for the conduct of feasibility studies for the development and modernization of Philippine Ports.

A regional transshipment hub located in Babatngon, Leyte is strategic given its proximity to the vast agricultural and fishery production areas in Leyte, Biliran, and Samar Islands. It is also supportive of the major economic programs of the government such as the Tacloban North Economic Zone, Barugo Special Economic Zone, Copper Manufacturing Roadmap, and the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone.

Former RDC VIII Chair, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla, expressed his support to the conduct of the study, pointing out that the Babatngon Port is strategically located at the center of the existing and proposed manufacturing/production sites as identified in the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 and the Visayas Spatial Development Framework 2015-2045.

The objectives of the study include (1) determination of the long-term sustainable directions in the development of the Babatngon transshipment hub; (2) evaluation of the technical soundness, operational and economic feasibility and financial viability; (3) undertaking the initial environment examination (IEE) and to recommend the conduct of full-blown environment impact assessment (EIA); and (4) recommendation of solutions to possible risks that may affect the project feasibility.

Present as guests in the meeting are Korean investor Richard Moon, member of the Board of Directors of HaniShip Inc., Bang Su Jin and Lee Jin Young, both Korean consultants of Sekwang Engineering Consultants Co., Ltd. Bang Su Jin presented their company’s portfolio.