New P200-M shipyard ready in six months
GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 March) – The tuna industry expects yet another boost with the construction here of a P200-million modern shipyard that is touted to be the “first in the East ASEAN Growth Area.”
The construction comes in the wake of the country’s passing the standards set by the European Union.
Signal Marine Shipyard Corp., a consortium of the biggest names in the country’s fishing industry, is behind the project. Construction is expected to be completed in six months.
Marfenio Tan, chair of the SAFI Group of Companies and one of the consortium members, said they bankrolled the project due to its economic viability and to further boost the local fishing industry.
He said the project was in response to the European Union’s accreditation of the country as exporter of fisheries and aquatic products.
Francisco Tiu-Laurel, head of Frabelle Fishing Corp., also a consortium member, described the shipyard project as “world-class” to accommodate large vessels.
“Once completed, it will employ 300 workers which will mean more taxes and money being pumped into the local economy,” Laurel said.
He said the shipyard will have three slipways or ramps on the shore on which ships or boats needing repairs can be moved to and from the water.
The shipyard will be equipped with complete and modern facilities for shipbuilding and servicing, he added.
Laurel said the facility may service foreign fishing vessels within the EAGA economic grouping, including superseiners, a large fishing vessel employed by huge firms in catching tuna varieties.
The other consortium members are Domingo Teng of TSP Marine Corp, Ferdinand Lim of RBL Fishing Corp., Paul Tan of Ocean Canning Corp, and John Reynaldo Tiangco of Trans-Pacific Journey Corp.
The city government, through Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr., committed continued support to endeavors for the growth of the tuna industry.
He took advantage of the groundbreaking ceremonies to hit his detractors who have been claiming that under his administration, new investments had been scarce.
“My detractors must set their sights along the shoreline of the city, from Bawing to Labangan in order to find out that most investments are located there,” he said.
The city, dubbed the undisputed “Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” is largely dependent on the tuna industry. It hosts six of the country’s eight tuna canneries.
The Philippines produces approximately 400,000 metric tons of tuna annually with a value of P18 billion (some $330 million), about 85% of which (roughly P15 billion or $280 million) is exported to various countries, according to data from the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The tuna industry provides direct and indirect employment to at least 100,000 fisherfolk, laborers and factory workers, located, for the most part, in Southwestern Mindanao. (Grabbed from MindaNews daily dispatch)