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No port fees for passengers to Guimaras

By: - Correspondent / @nestorburgosINQ
/ 12:06 AM August 22, 2016

ILOILO CITY—Confronted with a court case against its port project, the developer of a modern ferry complex for passengers going to and from nearby Guimaras Island has announced that it was waiving terminal fees for at least 10 years.

Charitable foundations of the Injap Group and Sia family agreed to subsidize the fees starting Aug. 15, according to DoubleDragon Properties Corp., which is developing the P135-million terminal complex on a 1.3-hectare government land near the port of Iloilo.

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The subsidy could be extended if the parties agreed, Ferdinand Sia, DoubleDragon president and chief executive officer, said in a letter to Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

The project is based on a 25-year joint venture agreement between the company and the city government, which may be extended for another 25 years. The deal grants exclusive rights to the developer to collect terminal, berthing and cargo fees, and to sublease or rent out commercial spaces within the complex.

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Aside from serving as a modern port for motorboats, the complex will include 30 commercial establishments, including a bank, fast-food stores and a supermarket.

Earlier, Guimaras provincial officials filed a civil case to stop the project at the Regional Trial Court in San Miguel in Jordan, Guimaras. They opposed the charging of an P11-terminal fee for every passenger and a P30-berthing fee per boat.

The rates are too high for more than 20,000 residents who travel to Iloilo daily, Gov. Samuel Gumarin said.

The terminal began operating on July 27 on a “dry-run,” but no boat and passenger used its facilities.

City Councilor Plaridel Nava has also filed a graft complaint against Mabilog and top DoubleDragon officials for allowing the “illegal” construction of a shopping mall beside the terminal.

Also named respondents were Norman Tabud, head of the permits and licensing division, and city engineer Roberto Divinagracia.

Mabilog’s spokesperson, lawyer Mark Piad, said the complaint was “baseless and without merit.”

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TAGS: Guimaras, passenger, port, port fee, terminal
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