Bernardo M. Villegas
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Batangas: The Next Metro Manila (Part 3)

          Batangas is among the leading provinces in the Build Build Build Program of the Duterte Administration.  Several road projects have been completed for easier mobility of goods and services and accessibility of the province to the neighboring regions, especially the National Capital Region.  Notable among the completed infrastructure projects in Calabarzon include the following:  the opening/concreting of General Aguinaldo-Magallanes-Nasugbu Road (East West Road) which includes the construction of a 25 lineal meter bridge linking Magallanes, Cavite with Nasugbu, Batangas.  The widening of Lemery-Taal Diversion Road has addressed traffic gridlock along the national road network leading to tourism areas in Nasugbu, Batangas while the widening of Bauan-Mabini Road in Mabini, Batangas facilitates not only the enhancement of tourism but also the transport of products to neighboring towns and provinces.

         The much-needed widening of the Sto. Tomas section of Daang Maharlika has shortened travel time by as much as 30 percent and mitigated flooding with the provision of drainage systems along the highway.  Safer connectivity between the towns of Taysan and Lobo, Batangas has been facilitated by the completion of the new Dona Alicia Bridge along the Batangas-Lobo Road which is not only wider but has been reinforced to carry higher load capacity.

         As mentioned above the trimodal transport system that Governor Mandanas is expected to complete in the next six years will mean a vast improvement in the supply chain or logistics sector in the province of Batangas. Top on the list is the Batangas International Airport that will be located in the municipalities of Alitagtag and San Pascual.  The international airport will be developed in tandem with an industrial park and an export processing zone. The international airport will be located in a consolidated property of 1,000 hectares that will not require any reclamation of land and has enough reserved space for future development.  The Batangas Port Development Phase IV will require the reclamation and construction of two container terminals and cargo berths for international cargo. Some 300 hectares will be reclaimed from the sea right beside the existing Batangas International Port Phase 1. This expansion will double the cargo capacity of the South Luzon area and will include a RORO terminal for faster handling. Batangas international cargo growth has been estimated at 7 to 10% annually.

         The expansion of the Batangas International Seaport will require improving access to the port from Batangas City.  To address this, the planned Batangas City Access Zone will involve the reclamation of an additional 64 hectares along the coast, expandable to 100 hectares; construction of two-lane access roads, port and docking areas, warehousing and storage yards; and a suspended train, to provide easy access to the Batangas Regional Food Terminal and oil depots.  An indispensable complementary infrastructure to the expanded Batangas international seaport will be the Calamba to Batangas City railway spur line.  This will consist of a 55-kilometer extension of the South Line (North-South Railway Project) from Calamba, Laguna to Batangas City.  This spur line will end with the Batangas International Seaport and will link up to the Filinvest Technology Park and the Light Industry and Science Parks II and III. 

         Another major infrastructure is needed to support the key role played in the energy sector by Batangas which currently handles 50% of nationwide oil and gas supply. There is a plan to develop and operate 110 kilometers of oil pipeline from Batangas City to southwest Muntinlupa City.  Muntinlupa is being considered as a possible replacement for Pandacan for the new site of oil depots. In the same manner, major infrastructure is needed to support the role of Batangas province as a food belt for the National Capital Region and most of Calabarzon.  The Province is planning to put up a Batangas Regional Food Terminal on a 29-hectare coastal area in Batangas City for agricultural processing, and cold storage of produce from the Calabarzon region extending all the way to the island of Mindoro, which is a major source of such agricultural products as calamansi and the saba variety of bananas which are important ingredients for the catsup industry in the National Capital Region. The Food Terminal will serve as an alternative market for farmers and fishermen who can do direct marketing, both wholesale and retail. The Batangas Regional Food Terminal will be designed to accommodate a livestock terminal; bulk grain handling; cold storage; abattoir; meat, fish, fruit and vegetable processing; cargo trucking services and port cargo handling.

         Batangas can also be a host for heavy industries, very much needed in catching up with the industrialization process of our neighboring East Asian economies. The provincial government plans to put up a 90 to 280-hectare coastal industrial hub for lease by resorting to the PPP modality, i.e. in partnership with property owners.  This industrial site will be ideal for shipbuilding, logistics, dry docks and power plants.  Fortunately, there is a great likelihood that the present Governor, Hermilando Mandanas, is sufficiently popular that he can continue for the next six years, long enough for these enumerated public-partnership projects to be actually implemented.  Under his leadership, the province of Batangas can truly aspire to be the next megacity in the Philippines competing with Metro Manila as the premier industrial center of the country.  For comments, my email address is