Batangas ready for bigger national role
The province of Batangas is positioning itself as an important gateway to the progress and development of the rest of the country.
This was stressed by Gov. Hermilando Mandanas at the recent 14th Batangas Development Summit held in Lima Park Hotel at Lima Commercial Estate in Lipa-Malvar, Batangas.
Mandanas cited in particular the growing importance of Batangas International Port, which now processes more than three times as many passengers as the Manila seaport. “In terms of cargo [handled], we’re slowly catching up [with Manila],” he said.
“Batangas is a gateway of the nautical highway,” the governor said. The seaport also allowed the province to provide other essential raw materials and services to the rest of the country.
Mandanas pointed out that the province had always played an important role in the life and growth of the Philippines. At present, about “65 percent of the country’s fuel requirements passed through the province.”
Batangas is a distribution hub for diesel, gasoline, kerosene and aviation gas, as it hosts major players in the fuel industry, Shell and Caltex. The local fuel company Petron also has some facilities there.
The province itself is self-sufficient in energy, generating 5,375 megawatts which, Mandanas said, was used 100 percent by Batangas. A new facility under construction will generate another 2,500 megawatts.
But he stressed that the local government was aware that its energy source could be depleted by 2025 so three gasification plants are being constructed and would be finished in 2023.
Recently, the province was designated as part of the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Logistics Hub system, which has completed facilities in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Indonesia will soon be joining the network. The Philippines is in the process of starting its part in the Asean scheme.
“So, the Asean Logistics Hub is not going to be in Manila, Cebu or Davao but here in Batangas,” Mandanas said.
The governor acknowledged the contribution of the Batangas State University (BSU), designated as the country’s National Engineering University, in the province’s push to be the gateway for progress and development in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region and the whole country.
Mandanas said, “here (BSU), we really have the basic ingredients … with the ideas, the creativity [and innovation].”
University president Dr. Tirso Ronquillo said the institution was producing engineers and technicians needed by Calabarzon and the rest of the country and was adapting programs and courses to local needs.
For gentler dev’t
Mandanas also acknowledged the significance of being in the Calabarzon region, which has been “a leader in development and progress in the country.”
He said, as the province emerged from almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not just taking from where it left off and not adopting a new normal. The province would be coming up with an “improved, more innovative and more committed [version of itself] with a strong faith and bright hope for the future.”
Batangas would pursue with new vigor its goals of health, education, livelihood, and the protection of the life and property of its constituents. Development would also be gentler and more inclusive.
Mandanas was dropping fist bumps as a form of greeting—“Ayaw ko na ng fight lagi” (I don’t want to be fighting always)—and going for the “safer” touching of fingertips, supposedly a symbol for “align.”
He stressed that Batangas’ development would be sustainable and inclusive, “a celebration of life.”
“Walang iwanan (nobody will be left behind),” he said. INQ
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