ARMM’s major port gains headway PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 11:31

Revenues generated in 2015 by the Maguindanao Polloc Port increased to P91 million, more than 60 percent markup from its measly P19.2 million income in 2014.

The port, almost dormant for years due to security constraints and poor management by past officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), is located in Parang town in the first district of Maguindanao.

Hexsan Mabang, director of the Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA), on Monday said they attribute the feat to the improving security situation around the Polloc Port.

“This is also a result of the reforms initiated by the regional government to streamline and professionalize the operation of the port,” Mabang said.

Mabang, whose office has jurisdiction over economic activities inside Polloc Port, said records from the Bureau of Customs indicate that in 2013, the port only had a revenue of almost P80,000.

The collections increased to P19.2 million in 2014 as an offshoot of the ARMM government’s revitalization of the port’s almost moribund operation, he added.

“These collections were recorded by state auditors and the office of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman. We have government accounting records to show,” Mabang said.

In the past six months alone, foreign vessels delivered to Polloc Port more than a million bags of cement from Vietnam, imported by local distributors supplying construction materials to engineering outfits involved in some P3 billion worth of ARMM infrastructure projects in Maguindanao province.

Mabang said so poor was the condition of the port when Hataman first got to the helm of the ARMM government as an appointed officer-in-charge in December 2011.

He said efforts to improve the port took a full swing in 2013 after Hataman was elected to office as regional governor, ARMM’s 8th duly-mandated chief executive, since the region was created via a plebiscite in 1990.

“We can also attribute this big increase in our port revenues to the fragile peace, which we now have in the surroundings of the Polloc Port, to the absence of armed conflicts in the past five years,” Mabang said.

Parang, an old settlement in west Maguindanao province, is surrounded by government-recognized enclaves of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which are covered by the 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities between Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Nagging security issues, smuggling and management anomalies are among the woes that caused the deterioration of the Polloc Port during the time of past regional governors.

The port even became known as a major transshipment point for rice smuggled from nearby rice-producing Asian countries from between 2000 to 2008.

“One of the strategies initiated by the present ARMM leadership to improve the port was to open its operation to scrutiny by the media and interested anti-graft activists,” Mabang said.

Mabang said all earnings of the Polloc Port under the Hataman administration were religiously remitted to the national government.

“While the ARMM government did not have a share from these port collections, incumbent regional officials takes pride and are so honored to have done something to improve its operation,” Mabang said.

The office of Hataman allocated last year P150 million, from the ARMM’s infrastructure subsidy from the national government, for infrastructures in the surroundings of the port and for the rehabilitation of old buildings inside its compound.

“Construction works have started, being monitored closely by ARMM engineers, auditors and representatives from different media entities in Central Mindanao,” Mabang said