Source:  Philippines Star

MANILA, Philippines –  Hong Kong firm Hopewell Holdings Ltd. is planning to participate in the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program by investing in a transport linkage between Luzon and the Visayas.

In an interview with reporters, Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Felicitas A. Reyes said Hopewell is eyeing a toll road and RORO (roll on roll off) terminal in order to connect the islands.

Hopewell, the flagship group of Chinese tycoon Sir Gordon Wu, has expressed interest to invest in toll roads and putting up ferry service for cargo trucks and buses to further connect Luzon – with San Juan, Batangas as starting point — to the central business hubs of the Visayas.

It would also explore other PPP projects and would identify specific projects interests in the long run.

Reyes, who is also officer-in-charge of the Board of Investments (BOI), said the focus of the Chinese group is the eastern seaboard, also known as the Spine of the Philippines. “We presented to Wu the road project and the idea was to combine the RORO or the nautical highway with toll roads.”

When asked if the project will present problems since it is not included in the current PPP list, Reyes said it could be presented to the proper agencies and will not be considered an unsolicited project.

The DTI said Wu has expressed willingness to put up a 200-kilometer, 10-lane toll road as well as a ferry service for cargo trucks and buses to further connect Luzon with the Visayas, specifically Iloilo, Bacolod and Cebu.

Hopewell had already invested several years ago in two power projects during the time of President Corazon C. Aquino.

The Luen Thai International Group is now in the process of stepping up production of its world-renowned Coach brand of bags by expanding its facility in Tarlac which will boost the Philippine vision of creating a global supply chain city that will link up with its other major plant in Dongguan, China. Aside from fashion apparel, Luen Thai has extensive interests in shipping, aviation, logistics, insurance, property development, tourism and high brands in other garments subsectors.

Meanwhile, the Youngor Group of Eddie Chung and Mark Pressly is planning to put up a $20-million state-of-the-art textile knitting facility as well as a possible $100-million cutting-edge weaving facility on top of its existing smart shirt facility in Clark which now boasts over 4,000 personnel.

EWC, on the other hand, is also in the stage of providing a possible solution to the enormous power requirements of the Tampakan Xstrata mining project. EWC has proposed setting a LNG terminal and storage-hub that will house a 500-megawatt gas-fired power facility. The gas tankers of EWC will source LNG from Papua New Guinea and other parts of Australia and Indonesia and can replenish its LNG facilities in the country if the need arises.