TACLOBAN CITY- A road construction project connecting several towns in Northern Samar and Eastern Samar provinces worth P1.03 billion had its groundbreaking Thursday (May 31) with local officials expressing their optimism that it could provide convenience and economic benefits among the locals.
The road construction, which traverses the towns of Laoang, Palapag, Mapanas, Gamay, and Lapinig, all in Northern Samar, and Arteche and San Policarpio, both in Eastern Samar, is expected to be completed on March,2020.
Among those who were present during the groundbreaking ceremony held in Barangay Simora, Palapag town were Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar and South Korean ambassador to the Philippines, Han Dong-man whose government provided the funding through the Korea Export-Import Bank, Economic Development Cooperation Fund Loan.
Sec. Villar said that the project is part of the Build Build Build project of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“(This is a) landmark project under the Build Build Build program of Pres. Duterte (and ) will provide a seamless and safer transport and boost the local economy by providing faster transport of goods and services,” he said in his speech.
Ambassador Han said that the project, dubbed as Samar Pacific Coastal Road (SPCR) Project, is a testament of strong relationship between the Philippines and South Korea.
He also said that they are committed to helping the Philippine government ‘a win-win solution that will benefit to both countries.’
He also announced that the groundbreaking came at a time as Pres. Duterte is to embark his first state visit to Seoul on June 3 to 5.
Northern Samar Governor Jose Ong, in a statement, said that the road project will not only provide safe and fast travel among residents in the areas where the project traverses but will help hasten the transport of goods and services.
“I appreciate President Duterte and his alter ego Sec. Villar for their all-out effort to fund this long standing project being dreamed of by Nortehanons residing in the towns facing Pacific Ocean. I sincerely hope that this could be our strategic solution to the economic crisis affecting those areas,” the governor, who led local officials during the groundbreaking ceremony, said.
Rep.Edwin Ong said that he is also pinning high hope that once completed, the road project could result in more economic activities in these areas which are part of the second congressional district of Northern Samar of which he represents.
“We are hoping that this road project will provide benefits to the local economy and improve the economic situation in the area as a result of an improved transportation system,” he said in a separate statement.
The 11.607 kms project will involve the construction of a two-lane concrete road including three bridges, namely Simora, Jangtud 1 and Jangtud 2 bridges.
The SPCR Project will connect the five towns in Northern Samar to the two towns in Eastern Samar, forming a circumferential road in Samar Island.
Once completed, traveling by land from Palapag and other neighboring towns going to the provincial capital of Catarman would be cut to just less than two hours from the current more than three hours, Josiah Rei Echano, provincial information officer of Northern Samar, said.
These towns, all facing the Pacific Ocean, could also be reached by sea travel which is dangerous especially during bad weather, he added.
Echano also said that the road opening on these areas could also help address the insurgency problem as he described these towns as ‘old bastion’ of the communist armed group, the New People’s Army.