Ships heading to Virac and San Andres ports can now dock without the possibility of running aground on nearby coral reefs, as solar-powered navigation buoys have been installed at the approaches to the ports.

In Virac, eight floating buoys about two meters tall, including the undersea bottom, have placed at both sides of the sea approach to the port.

There are four red buoys at the left portion and four green ones at the right, when viewed from the pier, with each of the four buoys spaced about a hundred meters apart.

The design of installed buoys are remarkably identical to a 2.2-meter high polyethylene ocean buoy being sold by US manufacturer Sealite Lte Ptd and featuring 40-watt solar panels to power an LED lantern.

The Sealite buoy is weighed down by 350 kilos of concrete ballast and, during installation, is moored by elastic materials to an anchor on the sea bottom.

When asked by the Tribune about the project, the PPA official at Virac port declined to comment and referred this paper to the PPA website.

Information from the site showed that the buoys are part of a contract for the construction and offshore installation of Aids to Marine Navigation at the ports of Pasacao in Camarines Sur, Pio Duran, Bulan and Matnog in Sorsogon, Tabaco City and Legazpi City in Albay, and San Andres and Virac in Catanduanes.

The Invitation to Bid was published on May 3, 2021, with the Approved Budget for the Contract set at P448,583,192.58.

According to the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Resolution No. 016-2021, only the joint venture of Jarzoe Builders Inc. and Dalebo Construction and General Merchandise secured the bid documents and submitted a bid of P448,080,737.98.

Jarzoe Builders, Inc., headed by one Catrina Castro as president, provides a wide range of marine aids to navigation solutions for maritime safety in the Philippines, according to its LinkedIn resume.

It is also the exclusive distributor of Sealite Lte Ptd, which manufactures the Nautilus SL-B2200 ocean buoy.

On the other hand, Dalebo Construction has one Dante Bobadilla as its listed proprietor and is headquartered in Tanza, Cavite.

The PPA website showed that the joint venture also won the following projects also involving Aids to Navigation: P409 million for five ports in two Mindoro provinces, P232 million for two ports in Iloilo province in 2019, P280 million for three ports in Misamis Occidental in 2019, and P183 million in Davao port in 2017.

Jarzoe Builders, also based in Tanza, Cavite, won a P480-M contract for a similar project in Leyte and Biliran in June 2021, as well as P232-M for four ports in Negros Occidental in August 2020, and P328-M for 3 ports in Ilolilo, Roxas City and Aklan in 2019.

In a separate joint venture with Goldridge Construction and Development Corp., Jarzoe Builders and its partner were also awarded a P329-M contract for five ports in Bohol in 2018, P166-M for three ports in Marinduque and Lucena City, and P200-M for four ports in Antique and Guimaras, both in 2019.

On its own, Dalebo Construction clinched a P200-M contract for two ports in Romblon in 2019, P249 million in two ports in Palawan in April 2019, P167-M for four ports in Negros Oriental and Siquijor in 2018, and P199-M for three ports in Ilocos Norte in 2018.

A joint venture between Goldridge and Dalebo also won a P168-M contract covering two ports in Palawan in 2017.

Goldridge had won a P143-M contract for the port of Manila in 2016, P143-M for San Juanico Strait in Leyte in 2016, and P73-M for Iloilo province.

All told, during the period from 2016 to 2021, the three contractors – Jarzoe Builders, Dalebo Construction and Goldridge Construction – were awarded, by themselves or in joint venture, a total of 19 contracts for the construction and offshore installation of Aids to Marine Navigation in various ports with a total cost of P4.6 billion.

There is no indication of how much each of the red and green buoys installed in Cabugao Bay actually costs as the Contract of Agreement covering the clustered Bicol ports did not state the particulars of items of work.

A check of the Philippine Ports Authority’s list of projects showed that the last time the agency included the amounts for the items of work was in November 2018 when it awarded a contract to Dalebo Construction for P167 million for four ports in Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

Of the total amount, P158 million was for the supply, construction and delivery of the units at the staging area at the ports.

The agency’s Annual Procurement Plan for that year indicated that 20 units of the Solar Powered Lighted Buoy Assembly were allocated to the Negros Oriental and Siquijor ports at an estimated cost of P173 million.

Based on the awarded contract, each of the 20 buoys would cost around P8 million, including installation and delivery.

A similar project in the ports of Iloilo and Dumangas involved 28 units of the buoys at about P8.2 million each.

Assuming the same unit cost, the P448 million contract for the eight Bicol ports would involve the installation of roughly 56 lighted buoys, with Virac’s eight buoys costing the taxpaying public P64 million.

Source: The Catanduanes Tribune

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