By: John Rey Saavedra
CEBU CITY – The presidential assistant for the Visayas on Thursday said the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration has spurred the economy of the region.
Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino, head of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has around PHP123-billion worth of projects in the Visayas.
“As we begin the last three remaining years under the leadership of President Durterte, let us take note of the projects that he poured into Visayas during his first three years” in office,” Dino said in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Dino’s statement came as both the legislative and the executive departments are preparing for the fourth state of the nation address (SONA) of the President on July 22, the opening session of the 18th Congress.
According to Dino, the PHP17.52-billion new Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island and the new airport project in Panglao, Bohol which costs PHP7.4 billion, have a huge impact on the tourism industry in Central Visayas.
As part of Duterte’s commitment to address disaster safety in the typhoon-prone city of Tacloban, the national government embarked on the PHP7.9-billion Leyte Tide Embankment Project that covers 27.3 kilometers of shoreline from the villages of Diit to Tanuan in that city.
“This project aims to protect the province from future storm surges to avoid a repeat of the Yolanda tragedy which occurred in 2013,” Dino said.
Likewise, he said the 21.8-kilometer four-lane Bacolod Economic Highway is a unique project of the Duterte presidency, as it has three bridges and two-way bike lanes.
The highway, according to the OPAV chief, will serve as an alternative circumferential road that would bypass Bacolod City’s central district.
In Cebu, the PHP50-billion Metro Cebu Highway connecting Danao city in the north to Naga City in south Cebu will solve traffic congestion in the metropolis, Dino said. This project is a 73.75-kilometer highway spanning the metro’s mountain areas.
Dino said the biggest project that President Duterte will pour in the Visayas will be the Metro Cebu Integrated Intermodal Transport System (IITS) which Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade vowed to make party operational by 2021.
The IITS project will include monorail, bus rapid transit (BRT), and cable cars, he said.
Under this system, the DOTr will also implement bikeways, intermodal terminals, park and drive facilities, and walkways.
DOTr Undersecretary Mark Richmond de Leon earlier said the IITS will not only solve traffic congestion in Metro Cebu but will also give space to the pedestrians.
“Metro Cebu IITS will eventually boost Cebuano mobility,” Dino said.
He added that because of the efforts of President Duterte and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Malasakit Centers have now been helping thousands of poor patients in government hospitals in Cebu, Ilo-Ilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Ormoc, Tacloban, and Borongan, Samar.
“Duterte has done so much in the Visayas and I am confident that in the coming three years, the national government will continue to pour in more projects in the Visayas,” Dino said. “You have my trust Visayas, I promise that I will be working hard in making Malacañang near to us and that the best of Duterte’s administration is yet to come.” (PNA)