Seen to boost N.Samar economy; ends insurgency

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. led the groundbreaking of the 11.6 kms road and bridge project in Palapag, Northern Samar on Friday(July 14). Marcos, who was joined by Public Works and Highways Sec. Manny Bonoan and Northern Samar Gov. Edwin Ongchuan, said that the project could lead to ending the insurgency problem in the province and at the same time help the province develop economically. (RAUL TIOZON/PIA-8)

PALAPAG, Northern Samar- President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. led in the opening of an 11.6 kilometer Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project(SPCRP)on Friday (July 14) expressing his hope that this infrastructure project could address two problems stalking the province for decades now: poverty and insurgency.
The road project, covering the towns of Palapag, Laoang, and Catubig, has been in the pipeline since 2016 but was materialized two years later during the time of former President Rodrigo Duterte under his Build Build Build program.
The said project, funded by the South Korean government through its Export-Import Bank at a cost of P1.03 billion, was adopted by the current Marcos Administration under its Build More Better Project.
“With the opening of this road and its bridges, the development of Northern Samar’s rich agricultural lands and bountiful fishing grounds will follow suit. It will also expedite the delivery and movement of our basic goods and services, which will hopefully boost our people’s quality of life,” Marcos said in his speech.
The President, who was accompanied by Public Works and Highways Sec.Manny Bonoan and Presidential assistant Anton Lagdameo, also assured the officials of Northern Samar, one of the poorest provinces in the country, of the continuing support of his administration not only in addressing its poverty problem but also its peace and order problem, particularly involving members of the communist armed group, the New People’s Army (NPA).
“This undertaking strengthens the government’s resolve to improve the peace and order situation in the province and ensure that our economic gains and basic services reach everyone in the island,” the President added.
“The local government can be assured of this government’s continued unconditional support in your efforts to alleviate poverty, to promote good governance, secure the health and well-being of your citizenry, and usher inclusive development in your province,” he further said.
Governor Edwin Ongchuan, who led provincial officials in welcoming Marcos in his first visit to the Northern Samar, expressed his gratitude to the President.
Ongchuan said that connecting the ‘Pacific towns’ of his province which covers the towns traversing the rod project, has been an aspiration among the people of the province.
“The SPCRP will greatly impact the economic development of our province as it will remarkably increase the productivity of our thousands of farmers and fisher folks, thereby improving our program on food self-security,” he said.
“It will also boost our tourism industry and help and sustain our peace and resiliency efforts,” Ongchuan added.
Palapag Mayor Florencio Batula also expressed his gratitude to the national government saying that while their town is one of the oldest in the country, it remains to be isolated to the rest of Northern Samar until now.
“I am happy that there is now a national road connecting our town,” he said.
Batula said that with the road opening, they expect investors to come and insurgency problem addressed.
Resident Aurelia Bulignar, 71 and a resident of Barangay Manahaw, said that they are happy that their village is now connected to the rest of the province.
“We are happy. Before the construction of this bridge, we have to take a boat to reach the town proper. Now, we can go to the town center using this bridge,” she said.
Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Sang-hwa, who was also present during the inauguration, said that their government is glad that they part of this road project which they expect to help development of the province.
“I am proud to be with this infrastructure project. It was completed despite of many, many obstacles, including COVID-19,” he said in his speech.
“A strong and resilient infrastructure are very strong drivers to eradicate poverty and effect sustainable development,” he added.
Lee said that the construction of the project is yet another indicator of a close relationship between his nation and the Philippines, adding that they will ‘remain the most dependable partner of the Philippines.’
The project covers three bridges, including the 161-linear meter Simora Bridge, 31-linear meter Jangtud 1 Bridge, and the 69-linear meter Jangtud 2 Bridge.
The project drastically reduced the travel hour from Palapag to the provincial capital of Catarman, from the previous five hours to just one hour and 30 minutes.