09 December 2009

P131-M fertilizer grant for Luzon shipped thru Subic port

A total of 120,000 bags of fertilizer from Japan, weighing some 6,000 metric tons and costing about P130.7 million, arrived here recently at the Subic seaport on their way to various destinations in the island of Luzon.

The delivery of the fertilizer shipment through the port of Subic “only proves that when it comes to transshipment and cargo deliveries in Luzon, Subic offers the best option because of its strategic location,” said Feliciano Salonga, chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

The shipment, which comprised the third of four deliveries of ammonium sulfate fertilizer under a P253-million grant from the Japanese government, was turned over by Japan’s ambassador to the Philippines Makoto Katsura to Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Fondevilla reportedly interceded with the Japanese government to have the third and fourth shipments unloaded at Subic, in order to facilitate their delivery to farmers in the Ilocos, Cagayan and Central Luzon regions.

The third and fourth lots that were supposed to be unloaded in Iloilo and Batangas ports, respectively, were intended for typhoon-affected provinces in Luzon.

The third shipment that arrived here last week was intended for farmers in Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Isabela and Cagayan Valley, while the last lot of 7,500 metric tons that will arrive early next week will be for the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija.

During the turnover, Makoto said that the Japanese fertilizer assistance this year totals 26,135 metric tons or 522,700 bags of ammonium sulfate fertilizer, as contained in an agreement that he signed last March with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo.

Makoto added that the assistance “serves as a continuing testimony to the cordial friendship and cooperation shared between the Philippines and Japan.”

Specifically, it is designed to alleviate the plight of low-income farmers who were severely affected by recent typhoons, he added.

Makoto also recounted that the first two lots, totaling 252,700 bags or 12,635 metric tons, were coursed through the ports of Davao in September and Iloilo in October.

The Davao shipment was intended for selected low-income farmers in Mindanao, particularly in Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Davao del Norte and South Cotabato, he said. The Iloilo shipment was for underprivileged farmer-beneficiaries in Iloilo and Negros Occidental provinces.

The new fertilizer deliveries, meanwhile, would be crucial to turn around agricultural lands in Luzon that were affected by the recent floods, said Daniel OƱate, vice president for marketing of Agrotech Agricultural Products, Inc.

Juanio Mallari, a farmers’ representative, said the fertilizer donations would greatly help the farmers improve agricultural yield and boost the country’s program for self-sufficiency in rice production.

Salonga, meanwhile, urged port users in the Luzon area “to discover for themselves the advantages of using the Subic port.”

He said the port of Subic port has a total of nine piers and wharves that specialize in various shipping requirements. Among them are Leyte Wharf, which serves as bulk grain terminal; Sattler Pier, which is ideal for containerized and break-bulk cargoes; Alava Pier, which serves as a passenger terminal; Boton Wharf, which unloads fertilizers and petroleum products; and the New Container Terminal 1 and 2, which are designed for use by huge cargo vessels.

Salonga added that the port of Subic not only provides an alternative facility to ports in Metro Manila, but also seeks to become a globally-competitive service and maritime logistics center. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: Agriculture undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla (right) receives the P131-milion shipment of ammonium sulfate fertilizer from Japanese ambassador Makoto Katsura after they were unloaded at the Subic Bay Freeport. The shipment is bound to various typhoon-affected provinces in Central Luzon, Ilocos, and Cagayan regions.