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Tacloban port vital to ‘Yolanda’ rehabilitation

/ 05:11 AM June 18, 2015

Almost two years after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) devastated Eastern Visayas, the Port of Tacloban is still playing a major role in the ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the region.

The government has allotted billions of pesos for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by the strongest typhoon ever to hit land. The bulk of the building materials and equipment are arriving via the Tacloban port.

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In 2012, a year before Yolanda struck, the port handled a total of 1.64-million metric tons of cargo. In 2013, this went up to 1.81-million MT as relief goods and equipment swamped the port in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Immediately after Yolanda made its landfall on Nov. 8, 2013, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) general manager Juan C. Sta. Ana ordered the reopening of the Tacloban port to facilitate the movement of relief goods, vital equipment and supplies to the typhoon-affected areas.

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Sta. Ana said the PPA was aware of the needs of the people at that time of the crisis and the port agency was trying to facilitate the movement of relief goods.

At the initiative of the PPA, private port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) agreed to operate the Port of Tacloban using its own equipment for six months for a fee of P1. The contract was later extended. Pilipinas Shell donated P12 million worth of fuel for the port equipment.

“I commend and appreciate the gesture showed by ICTSI and Pilipinas Shell in helping the PPA aid the reconstruction process not only of Tacloban port but most especially the entire region,” Sta. Ana said.

The Tacloban port returned to normal operations two weeks later. Initially, the port operations were confined to receiving relief cargoes in break bulk. Later, it also accepted containerized cargoes.

The PPA itself donated P20 million through the Department of Public Works and Highways for the rehabilitation of Yolanda-devastated areas.

PPA also partnered with Gawad Kalinga to help build houses for Yolanda survivors.

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TAGS: Philippines - Regions, Rehabilitation, Tacloban port, Yolanda
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