ARMM premier port back in int’l trading scene PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 20 December 2015 14:24

PARANG, Maguindanao — Business activities are rising in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) primary free port, bringing the region back in the international trading scene after languishing for some time due to perceptions of instability, officials on Saturday said today.

Foreign vessels have been using the Polloc Port as entry point of goods coming to portions of ARMM and Central Mindanao after it was declared a free port, according to Hexan Mabang, ARMM Regional Ports Authority administrator.

He said the government peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which led to the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro has convinced traders that the situation in ARMM is now stable.

On Friday, a Vietnam base cargo vessel M/V Fortune Ocean loaded with 8,400 metric tons of cement arrived at the port. This was one of the many foreign cargo vessels that use Polloc Port as point of entry to the Philippines.

Mabang said this is not the first time that Polloc Port received a shipment of cement from abroad since 2006. Cement from China was also imported through the port without any hitches after all the certifications and documentations were complied, in particular the product standards required by the government.

The Portland brand cement, after being tested rigorously, has passed the standards required by the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) of the Department of Trade and Industry for cement importation.

Hence, for this shipment of imported cement, the BPS issued the necessary certification and documentation including its source or origin, which was validated by the provincial office of the Department of Trade and Industry as well as the Bureau of Customs.

All duties and tariffs were assessed and it is expected that full payment will be made before it enters the common market.

Mabang said the increased activities at the port means more revenue for the region and employment opportunities for the locals.

Polloc Port is situated in Barangay Polloc, Parang town in Maguindanao.

The port’s vital facilities have been upgraded when Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman assumed office. Mabang said a port plays major role in economic development of a certain area.

Early this year, officials of the ARMM’s premier port announced major rehabilitation of the Polloc Port as it declared the Regional Ports Management Authority (RPMA) earned PHP24.4 million worth of revenues in 2014.

Despite the peace and order problems that hit the region and its adjacent areas in 2013 and 2014, the port management earned 18 percent higher revenue as compared to 2013. In 2013, the regional ports authority earned only PHP9.4 million.

The ARMM’s largest seaport and a major export-import transshipment point for consumer goods, farm products and petroleum supply from Metro Manila and abroad, the port officials will focus first on the security aspect of the 120-hectare facility.

Also improved were the terminal building, the power facility and water system in compliance with the directive of Hataman to make the ARMM areas well prepared for the upcoming Bangsamoro government as a result of the 17-year peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Mabang is expecting more port activities during the first months of 2016.

Mabang said the importation of cement “could be the start of something big” for the Port of Polloc as traders gained confidence in using the port for their international trading activities.

For his part, Regional Board of Investments chairman Ishak Mastura, said: “I am glad that after such a long hiatus, traders have began to use Polloc Port again for trading of such an important and basic commodity as cement after complying with all the requirements for such importation, which the autonomous regional government has always facilitated for the benefit of the region and the consumers.”