Santa Fe to start port projects

·3 min read

SANTA Fe town will soon begin work on port projects to improve accessibility to the northwestern Cebu island destination.

In his third State of the Municipality Address (Soma) presented on Thursday, July 7, 2022, Mayor Ithamar Espinosa announced that the extension of the town’s port terminal and the long-awaited construction of a port in Kinatarkan island were among the projects he would undertake in his second three-year term as mayor.

He said the extension of the municipal hall would also be a priority.

Aside from these, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced on the same day that a new evacuation center, improved public markets and street lights were also among the facilities residents could look forward to as these projects were already funded under the DILG’s 2022 Financial Assistance to Local Government Units.

DILG Cebu Provincial Director Ian Kenneth Lucero made the remarks during the turnover of a Level 3 Water System project that would serve more than 400 households in Barangay Balidbid in the town.

The rehabilitation and improvement of the water system, which cost P4 million, was funded under the 2020 Assistance to Municipalities of the DILG, the department said.

Lucero said the ongoing evacuation center project in the municipality costs P3.38 million, while there are upcoming projects worth P10 million that include street lighting, a multipurpose building as well as the improvement of public markets in the town.

Lucero said the DILG had allocated and funded over P85.7 million worth of projects in Santa Fe, a fourth class municipality of 10 barangays located on Bantayan Island.

First term accomplishments

During his Soma Thursday, Mayor Espinosa also mentioned the projects he had undertaken during the third year of his first term as mayor.

Espinosa cited the construction of large roads in Barangays Maricaban, Okoy and Pooc, particularly Tourist Road in Pooc; the obtaining of a sea ambulance from the Department of Health for use during emergencies and on hours when shipping lines have no more trips going to Hagnaya Port in San Remigio town on the Cebu mainland; and the near completion of the circumferential road in Kinatarkan.

He also touted the better internet connection in the town after after Smart-PLDT launched its fiber internet connection. The mayor said this would make the island destination more attractive to both tourists and investors.

Santa Fe is considered the gateway to Bantayan Island as it hosts the island’s airport and principal seaport.

Airport expansion

The Bantayan Island Airport has a 1.2-kilometer runway that can accommodate turboprop planes.

There are plans to expand it so that it can accommodate commercial aircraft and boost tourism and other economic opportunities in northern Cebu and the rest of the Visayas.

In 2021, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) sought funding assistance of more than P154 million for the improvements needed in the Bantayan airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines had turned over the management and operation of the facility to MCIAA in January 2018.

Bantayan Island hosts the towns of Bantayan, Madridejos and Santa Fe.

Bantayan is among Cebu’s premier tourism destinations, the reason the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas last May announced a master plan for the island that includes building an esplanade/linear park that connects several landmarks with a pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined pathway; and creating open spaces on cliff lots with connecting walkways, movable retail kiosks, view decks, landscaped areas and activity areas.

Tourism arrivals to the island reached more than 200,000 in 2018, according to the Department of Tourism.

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