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Senator Urges Better Public Port Access For Philippine Navy Vessels

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Senator Urges Better Public Port Access For Philippine Navy Vessels

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Senator Robinhood Padilla has called on the private sector to provide Philippine Navy vessels better port access as part of a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to strengthen national security.

In a privilege speech delivered Tuesday night at the Senate, Padilla expressed alarm over the significant delays that Navy vessels currently face before being allowed entry into ports, hindering their maintenance, refueling, and reprovisioning.

“Kadalasan po, umaabot po ito ng apat hanggang apatnapu’t walong oras bago mabigyang pahintulot o espasyo sa mga daungan ang ating Philippine Navy. Depende rin po sa permisong ibibigay ng pribadong sektor kung gaano sila katagal maaaring manatili sa daungan (Usually, it takes four to 48 hours before our Philippine Navy is given permission or space in the ports. It also depends on the permit given by the private sector as to how long they can stay at the port),” Padilla said.

“Kung kaya po ng ibang nasyon na tulungan ang ating bansa, tulad ng America, nararapat lamang siguro po, Ginoong Pangulo, na asahan din natin ang suporta at tulong ng mga pribadong sektor nating mga kababayan (If other nations can help us, like the United States, then it is proper that we get support from our own private sector),” he said.

Padilla said the private sector should be “more accommodating” to the country’s Navy vessels, and suggested that military access to ports should be part of contracts and future concession agreements.

He also called for “more convergence projects” between the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Navy via their mother agencies – the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of National Defense (DND), respectively – just like the latter’s TIKAS (Tatag ng Imprastraktura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad) Program with the Department of Public Works and Highways. (PNA)