THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) expects Palawan to become a major cruise destination with the construction of a P1.5-billion cruise port, whose third and fourth phases are targeted for completion this year.

In a statement Tuesday, the DPWH said: “The Puerto Princesa City Cruise Port Facility Project, whose phases 3 and 4 are on-going, is soon (to) put the scenic Province of Palawan in the list of popular international cruise destinations.”

The P1.5-billion project is being implemented by the DPWH’s Region IV-B office.

The project has seven phases, which include the “construction of 500-meter wharf, docking facility, passenger terminal and access road,” the DPWH added.

DPWH Region IV-B Director Wilfredo S. Mallari said that once completed, the facility can accommodate “up to 10,000 passengers.”

The DPWH noted that Puerto Princesa City is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Subterranean River National Park, also known as the Underground River.

It said the city also serves as a gateway to other tourist destinations like El Nido, San Vicente, and Taytay.

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) said last week that it will formally inaugurate this month the newly-developed Salomague Cruise Port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.

The cruise port, which is already in use, serves as an alternate cruise port for Region I as it is located near attractions and beaches in the Ilocos provinces.

Bloomberry Cruise Terminals, Inc. (BCTI), in collaboration with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), facilitated the completion of the Salomague cruise port’s terminal facilities.

According to the 2019 Annual Report of the DoTr, the administration has completed a total of 317 commercial and social or tourism port projects.

“The improvement of the nation’s ports (will) boost connectivity and mobility, as well as spur regional growth in trade and tourism,” the DoTr said.

Among the projects completed last year are Davao del Sur’s Malalag Port, General Santos City’s Makar Port, Davao City’s Sasa Port, Bohol’s Tubigon Port, Southern Leyte’s Limasawa Port, and Misamis Oriental’s Opol Port. — Arjay L. Balinbin