Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the Grand Launching of Pier 88

Event Grand launching of Pier 88
Location Pier 88, Liloan, Cebu

Thank you very much to our good Vice President for her intro… [Please take your seats.] For her very kind introduction. Parang nabalik ako doon sa kampanya, nandoon kaming dalawa ni Inday Sara nagbubungisngisan ulit. And the reason I made her laughed is that I told her, dito sa mga gulong nangyayari, I have just officially designated myself as your self-appointed official BFF. So kahit… Sorry na lang. Sa ayaw mo at sa gusto mo, I’m still your number one fan. [laughter and applause]

Our good Speaker, Speaker Martin Romualdez; and of course, our Tourism Secretary, Secretary Christina Frasco; the Transportation Secretary Jimmy Bautista; the Cebu 5th District Representative, of course, Duke Frasco; the Cebu City Governor, our good friend, Governor Gwen Garcia; the Liloan Municipal Mayor Aljew Frasco; the Topline Group of Companies President and CEO Eugene Erik Lim; fellow workers in government; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

Maayong hapon sa inyong tanan.

Today, I stand together with the people of Liloan for two very significant and important reasons.

We witness today the grand launching of Pier 88, which shall offer a faster transport alternative for passengers and for cargo, and holds promise to become a local economic hub. It shall immensely serve the interests of the people of Liloan and beyond.

It’s made more special since it coincides with the 178th anniversary of Liloan, with the Rosquillos Festival, which is named after the native delicacy [for] which Liloan has been known for decades. In a sense, this is also a grand re-launching of the Rosquillos Festival, after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

With the public health emergency having been declared no longer an emergency, no longer one of international concern, we can now resume the traditional festivities and we can now resume the work that we had begun for all the development around our country, now in Cebu, in Liloan.

It’s encouraging to see that a massive undertaking such as this, where the local government takes the lead and collaborates with the private sector and other LGUs, in the pursuit of objectives consonant with the national development agenda.

If we note the cohesive features, it can be seen that several public services and developmental goals are delivered and achieved all at the same time. Public infrastructure, transport development, road traffic decongestion, but there is a — the Governor hit the nail upon the head when she said that these are just parts of a bigger system that we will synchronize and put together.

At the face of it, for example, we have now this Pier 88. We now have a ferry service. We talked about Camotes Islands and we think of course that is going to be good for Liloan, it’s going to be good for Camotes, but it doesn’t end there.

The concept that ASEAN leaders have been talking about so as to develop the economies of the ASEAN Member States is a concept of connectivity. We have used the word connectivity merely to describe digital connectivity.

We have now extended the meaning of that connectivity to include not only digital connectivity, but also to include connectivity in terms of land, and sea, and air transport.

And this is what that provides. We have seen, all of us have seen all the problems with supply chain networks and that is why we have focused, all of us have focused on making that connectivity more smooth and more streamlined and more accessible and easier to use and therefore making the ease of doing business not such a difficult effort for those who would like to do business in any way whatsoever.

And so this is for example, here in this example that we have here before us, we talked about the tourism industry which we will be improved by that. But this is not just the tourism for Liloan, for Cebu, for Camotes Islands.

This is in consonance with the discussions that we have been making with other countries, especially around ASEAN, even including all the way up to Europe, in that we are going to work together, so that to increase our tourism volume and this is again — this may seem as just one single part. It is a very good development.

But we must think of it in terms of not only this single port that we are looking at here now but as part of a larger system, a larger network which will make it easier for, not only for Filipinos to get from one place to another, Filipinos to be able to do business to open up areas that do not have economic activity as of now.

I mean if you think about it, the first time I went to Camotes Islands there were really no resorts, there were really no developments there. And now, slowly, that has begun and this will just accelerate that process and it is part of that network which we are trying to put together for the entire country to also accelerate the economic activity in those other places.

And so this is why today is very important, because today we put in place a very important piece of that puzzle, that puzzle that we are trying to put together so that our connectivity, not only amongst the islands of the Philippines, but even amongst our international friends and visitors and tourists is strengthened and made more easy and made more accessible. These are the important aspects that we have to attend to if we are going to transform our economy into the post-pandemic economy.

So, there is much that we will achieve. There are activities of tourism, job generation, energy efficiency, sustainability.

I was in Cebu City three months ago for the groundbreaking of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit system. Transportation na naman because more connectivity. And that again is what we have been pushing for. That is another project that is likewise guaranteed to help us achieve these multiple objectives.

With the many benefits to the public interest, these projects showcase kindred examples of good urban planning.

Let us imagine if these kind of projects are replicated across the country, laterally and locally coordinated, and harmonized both on the provincial and national levels—then we could say that we are genuinely closer to our ambition of a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient society.

Hence, we highlight the essential importance of holistic, systematic and integrated planning in our country today, as we slowly but collectively tread along that path.

In Japan, this urban planning concept is known as “Machizukuri”. In the literal sense, it means “town planning”.

But in the essence that the concept carries, there is a more weighty and more profound idea behind it, such as the primacy of the national framework, devolution of local planning powers to local governments, the importance of data and community participation.

Our response to this is what we have come to call the whole of government approach. When we are confronted with challenges or when we have a program that we would like to achieve, we apply all the resources, all the capacities, all the abilities of the bureaucracy of government and no matter what department they are, no matter what agency they might be, they are all applied to solve that problem and that includes the coordination between the national government and the local government.

It is the only way in my view that I see that we can succeed both at the local level and at the national level.

So, we laud the efforts not only of Liloan, but of course of Cebu province—through the coordinative efforts of the Metropolitan Cebu Development and Coordinating Board—in their pursuit of good urban planning and development practices.

The vision of a “Mega Cebu” by 2050 is already in place. [applause]. This is actively being pursued, as we speak. As an island province with several cities and municipalities, Cebu stands to greatly benefit from a systematic and integrated planning. Such kind of strategic planning will serve to further solidify its urban development foundation and consolidate its socio-economic strength. It will be a boon not only for Cebu but for the rest of the country.

And again, we have to remark, that like in any, as in many other forward-looking programs Cebu once again leads the way. Cebu, once again, shows the way for the rest of the Philippines. [applause] Cebu will be our… We will be watching the success of all of these coordinated efforts that we are doing with Cebu and again we will use those examples around the country.

But now, allow me to reiterate the urgency of enacting a [National] Land Use Policy for our country, which is a priority legislative agenda of this Administration. I have had the
opportunity to work on this matter when I chaired the Senate Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement Committee some years ago. It never materialized for reasons beyond our control. The pandemic is also included in that circumstance.

This time, we will see to it that this measure shall be given [the] urgent attention that it deserves, cognizant of its fundamental importance to our holistic national development.

Through a [national] physical framework plan, all mandates and policies on land use shall be integrated— from watersheds to farm lands from cultural heritage sites to ancestral domains, from protected disaster-prone areas. Local governments must ensure that their respective physical and land use plans shall conform to and shall be consistent with the national plan. Hence, the whole-of-government approach.

Moreover, national and local governments will tap the budding profession of environmental planners for its technical expertise in the crafting of accurate and well-aligned physical and land use plans.

I thank the House of Representatives for its timely and significant action in having approved their version of the bill on third reading just a few days ago.

It is terribly important. I have been following this from the time that I was governor to the time that I was congressman until the time I was senator and I continue to do so now as President.

And so, I exhort the local government of Liloan, the whole of Cebu to continue generating these kind of high-impact projects and give us once again examples of best practices.

May your examples be a source of inspiration and ideas for others to emulate, to follow, and to succeed with.

Let me congratulate, of course, our private sector partners whose ideas and investments have led to the completion of this port and mix-use development project, Pier 88 Ventures Inc., and Topline Group of Companies.

Thank you for your partnership. [applause] Thank you for your help and thank you for providing this service for our people.

Rest assured, my Administration will continue to encourage and nurture this dynamic collaborations between highly capacitated LGUs and the private sector.

All of us look forward to the full-blast operations of Pier 88 very, very soon.

Happy anniversary! An enjoyable Rosquillos Festival to one and all!

Mabuhay ang Liloan at ang buong lalawigan ng Cebu! Daghang salamat sa inyong tanan!

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