Cagayan Freeport project almost done

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SANTA ANA, Cagayan: The construction of the P4.2-billion thousand-meter breakwater project to protect Port Irene here from storm surges and the strong sea current is nearly completed, according to Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) officials.

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Engineer Julian Jovy Gonzales, CEZA officer-in-charge, said phase IV-A or the second to the last phase of the project in Casambalangan is already finished while the last phase will be completed this year.

Earlier, the monitoring and evaluation team of the Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC) of the Regional Development Council inspected the area for developments.

The RPMC evaluating team is composed of the different line agencies of the National Economic and Development Authority, the Philippine Information Agency, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Provincial Government of Cagayan.

The project started in 2008 and aims to protect the old seaport from destructive sea waves and to deepen the navigational channel for the safety of large ships and vessels in their entry and exit maneuvers.

“Once completed, the breakwater project will help protect the main and ancillary port infrastructure against wear and tear and prevent further deterioration caused by the strong waves,” Gonzales said.

In a report submitted to the RPMC team, Gonzales said the project was supposed to be completed in 2013 but was delayed due to changes in its engineering structure.

”We have changed the design from armor rock to pre-cast concrete block. We had to consider weather disturbances like typhoons Vinta and Odette which contributed to the delay,” he said.

Because of this, the local economy has improved owing to the increasing number of ships in the area. From two to three ships a year, this has increased to six to eight yearly. People at the east coast adjacent to the port are now protected from storm surges.

Contrary to some reports, residents of Casambalangan Cove said the breakwater project has protected them from two typhoons in the last quarter of 2013. They didn’t evacuate their homes because of tidal waves.

CEZA was created by virtue of Republic Act 7922, a government-owned and controlled corporation under the Office of the President tasked to manage and supervise the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

Santa Ana and the islands of Fuga, Barit and Mabbag in the municipality of Aparri with approximately 54,118 hectares of urban, suburban and agro-industrial lands for prime development are covered by CEZA under the charter.

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