By Nanette Guadalquive
BACOLOD CITY — The Tiu-Laurel family-owned Frabelle Group of Companies has proposed to develop an international port project costing PHP7 billion to 8 billion in Cadiz City, located in northern Negros Occidental.
Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. said the proposal will undergo a Swiss challenge, wherein other companies are invited to submit counterproposals.
“We’re in the final stages of negotiation. We hope that before the month ends, we can proceed with the Swiss challenge publication. This will be a public-private partnership,” Escalante told reporters in Bacolod over the weekend.
The Frabelle Group has diversified business interests, including deep-sea fishing, food manufacturing, shipyard operations, and wharf development, among others.
Escalante said the proposed project, which will be annexed to the existing commercial port, will have three phases seen to be completed in two and a half years.
The first phase will include a reclamation area of 25 hectares with a deep-water port for international cargo vessels linked from Batangas port to the Cadiz wharf.
After the third phase, some 100 hectares will have been reclaimed.
Escalante said 50 percent of agriculture production in Negros Occidental is taking place in the north.
Farm produce, such as sugar, is transported from the area, and farm inputs and machinery also enter the province through the Cadiz port.
The proponent sees the increasing volume of port traffic, the mayor said.
Cadiz is part of the province’s second district together with Sagay City and Manapla town.
The three local government units are collectively known as CASAMA for Cadiz, Sagay, and Manapla, which recently formed a district development alliance, to pursue an integrated and comprehensive development approach to provide inclusive growth and integrated progress in the district.
Escalante, a former second district board member, said more firms have expressed interest to locate in the CASAMA area.
Last week, representatives from Tamiya Philippines came to visit and local officials brought them to the Sagay economic zone, he added.
The manufacturing firm, currently based in Mactan Export Processing Zone in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, is looking for a new site, where it can relocate in three years’ time.
“By 2022, they will leave Cebu and because of that, now, they’re looking for a possible new site,” Escalante said.
He further said the second district has a trainable manpower pool, who can be employed by new locators. (PNA)