ARMM rehabilitates old Tawi-Tawi Chinese pier PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 27 July 2014 14:21

There is an old “Chinese pier” in Tawi-Tawi being rebuilt now by government to revitalize an ancient trading network connecting seafaring traders from island towns to the capital of the province.

The historic Chinese pier at one side of the island town of Bongao, seat of the provincial government, is being reconstructed and expanded out of a P75 million development allocation from the 2013 and 2014 infrastructure budget of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The pier, originally built at the main seaside trading center in Bongao, is a major entry point for products and people coming from island towns in Tawi-Tawi and from Sabah, Malaysia.

The ARMM’s Department of Public Works and Highways is presently constructing a 400-meter long watercraft berthing spot at the Chinese pier, and a concrete bridge and road that would connect the facility to the Bongao seaport, where bigger cargo and passenger boats dock.

The DPWH-ARMM has earmarked P50 million for next year’s improvement of the newer and larger Bongao seaport.

Hadji Emil Sadain, regional secretary of DPWH-ARMM, said the old Chinese pier is also known as the “circumferential docking area” in Bongao owing to its lengthy stretch that straddles through seaside trading sites.

The Chinese pier connects to the Ridjiki Boulevard in Bongao, which leads to the municipality’s bigger seaport in the west of the island town.

“This old Chinese pier was destroyed by strong waves in the 1970s. The ARMM government is fixing it now to accelerate the economic growth of Tawi-Tawi,” Sadain said.

He said the DPHW-ARMM is grateful to Tawi-Tawi Gov. Nurbert Sahali and his older sibling, Congresswoman Ruby Sahali, for having been supportive of the regional government’s effort to improve the Chinese pier.

Sadain, accompanied by Assistant Secretary Numeiry Jalani of the ARMM’s services convergence office for the Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi (Basulta) area, inspected the project site last Thursday.

Sadain said he is satisfied with how the project is being implemented. He said he will report his findings on Monday to ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

Sadain said Hataman, to ensure transparency, even enlisted the help of various non-government organizations and different media outfits in the monitoring of the project.

Bongao Mayor Jasper Que, whose office is helping oversee the project, said his constituent-merchants in Bongao are anticipating dramatic improvements in the local economy once the Chinese pier’s improvement is complete.

The business communities in Bongao, known as the country’s “southern backdoor,” and those in surrounding island municipalities, have robust, centuries-old trade links with merchants in Sabah, Malaysia and in Indonesia.