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Bloomberry unit proposes privately funded Parañaque City dock for cruise ships, yachts

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THE RAZON group’s Sureste Properties, Inc. is proposing to build a $308-million dock for cruise ships in Parañaque City, a project that has been elevated to the Office of the President, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) said Tuesday.

In a statement, TIEZA said it forwarded to President Rodrigo R. Duterte on May 9 a proposal from Enrique K. Razon, chief executive officer of Bloomberry Resorts Corp. and chairman of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), to build Solaire Cruise and Yachting Centre (SCYC) entirely with private funds.

It said the President welcomes the proposal as long as it acquires all permits and environmental clearances.

Bloomberry Resorts Corp. is the owner and operator of Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City. ICTSI operates the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT). It is also the parent company of Sureste Properties.

“The proposal includes marine and terminal facilities, homeport and port-of-call operations, an expanded harbor offering dining, shopping, entertainment and maritime recreation, and walkable esplanades and plazas,” TIEZA said.

Other agencies present at the May 9 presentation were the Department of Transportation, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

The statement added that Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade backs the project, due to the need for a dock specialized to receive cruise ships. He added that Manila Harbor is not suitable for cruise visits.

NEDA Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia also proposed other peripheral facilities to complement the project. PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said the project will gain momentum if it manages to obtain an Environmental Compliance Certificate.

TIEZA said the SCYC is scheduled to be implemented starting two years from now, and will be structured as a Tourism Enterprise Zone to avail of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.

It added that the next step would be a feasibility study on the project, which is considering locations between the CCP complex and Entertainment City shoreline.

In an e-mail to BusinessWorld, TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Joselito D. Paragas said the proposal was originally to be classified as unsolicited, which would require a Swiss challenge to solicit counter-proposals.

“However, a review of the proposal essentially suggested that the proponent will solely undertake the planning, design, and development of its cruise terminal project, without expecting any subsidy, equity or guarantee from the government,” Mr. Paragas said — Denise A. Valdez