• Subic port modernization backed amid traffic crisis

    Alvarez, secretarygeneral of President Duterte's political party PDPLaban, said modernizing the Subic port and optimizing its use will ease traffic congestion in the capital that has led to significant productivity losses on a daily basis. Earlier, the House leader called on the Department of Transportation to submit concrete proposals to ease vehicular traffic in the metropolis instead of heavily relying on the proposed emergency powers for them to act on the problem. Alvarez said the Subic option is one proposal that could help, noting that expanding the volume of the Subic international seaport could spur economic growth in Central and Northern Luzon. Belmonte, who represents the fourth district of Quezon City, said developing Subic port to its fullest is a great idea. Subic Container Port has a capacity of 600,000 containers, but handled only over 120,000 last year. This means the port can easily absorb Northbound cargoes, as shown by a study made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA said there is also cost advantage ranging from $100 to $200 per container for shippers from Pampanga and Zambales to ship through Subic instead of passing through Manila ports. The study showed there is a capacity shortage of 14 million containers for the Pacific Region, with Singapore already reaching its limit and Hong Kong remaining severely silted. Meanwhile, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, lauded proponents of the Subic option as he noted that using its container port will translate to more economic activities in Subic and in neighboring areas.