Aerial photo of the sheltered port being constructed on Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan town. (Photo from the Palawan Provincial Engineering Office)

The sheltered port on Pag-asa Island in the town of Kalayaan, located in the West Philippine Sea, may become operational next year, possibly in March, as Phase III construction advances with a recorded 50 percent completion.

Provincial Information Office (PIO) chief Atty. Christian Jay Cojamco said yesterday that the port facility is vital for the fishermen residing on Pag-asa Island because it will shield their boats from the open sea and adverse weather conditions, such as strong winds, waves, and heavy storms.

Cojamco stated that, according to a report from the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO), Phase III construction, which commenced on June 30, 2022, with a contract cost of P466 million, is now 50% complete.

He explained further that the project’s goal, under the leadership of Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates, is to improve the socio-economic well-being and living conditions of the residents of Pag-asa Island.

In 2018, Phase I construction of the sheltered port, funded with P432 million, was initiated. This was followed by Phase II in 2021, costing P221 million, which has now been completed.

Funding for the project came from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and its execution is a collaborative effort between the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the local government of Kalayaan.

Cojamco said they expect that it will contribute to the development of the fishing and tourism industry in the area.