As the Philippines moves forward in a post-pandemic world, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said that Cebu's newly opened Pier 88 is part of a more extensive network that would enable the country to boost its connectivity not only locally but with prospective international partners. ![President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (MalacaƱang photo)]( ###### *President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (MalacaƱang photo)*

Marcos said this as he led the grand launching of Pier 88, Cebu's first smart port, in Liloan on Saturday, May 27. In his speech, the President said the seaport project would be a springboard for bigger undertakings in the future. "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 easier and more accessible," Marcos said. "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, and sustainability," he added. According to President Marcos, such projects that promote connectivity have been discussed by member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the longest time. But with Pier 88, he said the Philippines extended the meaning of "connectivity" to include land, sea, and air transport and travel, in addition to digital connectivity. "We have seen all the problems with supply chain methods. That's why all of us focused on making that connectivity more smooth and streamlined and more accessible and easier to use, therefore making the ease of doing business a not-such-a-difficult effort for those who'd like to do business in any way," he said. Not only will not the project help local businesses in Cebu in terms of tourism, but Marcos said it would also boost the economic activity in the entire country. "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 to increase our tourism volume," he said. Developed by Topline Group of Companies in partnership with Pier 88 Ventures, Inc. and the local government of Liloan, the three-hectare port will serve as a marine highway and provide a faster alternative route for those traveling from the northern part of Metro Cebu to their workplaces in Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Cebu City, and vice versa. It will also serve as an economic gateway to Northern Cebu and is expected to enhance connectivity and mobility for travelers going in and out of Cebu mainland via Liloan to Metro Cebu, Danao City, Camotes Islands, Bohol, and Leyte provinces. Pier 88 will incorporate a Smart Port System which features an Automated Ticketing System and will integrate digital technology into its operations by using QR codes and a radio frequency identification-ready (RFID) system to be integrated into a mobile application. It will initially serve as a route connecting Liloan to Mactan Wharf, making the commute of people who regularly ply the said routes comfortable, convenient, and faster. Trips from Liloan to Mactan Island and vice versa will soon be cut short from the usual land travel of approximately two hours to only 30-45 minutes.

Source: Manila Bulletin (