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Bill lifting forest reserve declaration for Camotes now in Senate
By: Mylen Manto | Published Monday, August 31, 2020
Fifth District Representative Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco shared to the residents of Camotes group of islands that House Bill No. 4785 which lifts the forest reserve declaration on Camotes is now in the Senate. (Tonee Despojo)

House Bill No. 4785 which lifts the forest reserve declaration on the Camotes group of islands is now in the Senate after it passed the third and final reading in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, August 25.

Fifth district Congressman Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco was elated to announce this on Saturday, August 29, during the awarding of the SUGBUsog provincial, district and municipal winners in Poro town.

“Sulod lang na sa usa ka tuig, ako nang nabuhat, na-approve nana sa Kongreso niadtong Martes (August 25), gi forward nana sa Senado and hopefully within the next two years mahimo nanang balaod,” he said.

“Pasabot niini hopefully once mapasar ni sa Senado mahimo ning usa ka balaod, ang atoang mga yuta diri sa Isla sa Camotes gikan sa unsay kahimtang karon pwede na nga atoang ma pa titulohan,” he added.

In 1981, then President Ferdinand Marcos signed Presidential Proclamation No. 2152 declaring the islands of Poro, Ponson, and Pacijan (Camotes Islands) as part of the Mangrove Swamps Forest Reserves.

Frasco said once the dry lands in the Camotes Islands will be classified as alienable and disposable, this will allow the residents to exercise fully their rights as land owners. 

This will also mean more income and more investment in the islands that would translate to more job opportunities.

“What does it mean? Once nga makapa-title na ta sa atong mga yuta diri sa Camotes, that means there’s gonna be more income, more investment, daghan na ang mububo og mga pundo ngari sa atoang Camotes kay kampanti naman sila sa yuta nga ilahang tukuran og development,” he said.

On August 29, Governor Gwen Garcia also led a groundbreaking ceremony for a P12.5 million concreting project for farm-to-market road in Barangay Eastern Poblacion until Barangay Altavista with Poro Mayor Edgar Rama and other public officials.

Frasco disclosed that he asked Garcia’s permission to give additional funds for the construction of the airport in Camotes Islands. 

“Nagka-istorya mi sa atong gobernador kabahin sa atoang airport diri sa Camotes. Sayud mong tanan nga usa ni sa dako kaayo nga project sa atoang gobernador. Nananghid kos gobernador nga kon pwede mangayo kog puno nga budget didto sa national kay part sa atong Bayanihan 2 nga gipasar sa kongreso is allocation para sa atoang tourism infrastructure projects diri sa atoang nasud,” he said.

“Mentras tanto wala pa tay turista gikan sa laing nasud muanhi diri, let’s develop, let’s rehabilitate and let’s create more projects that would help our tourism industry apil na diri sa atoang Isla sa Camotes,” the congressman added.

Transportation to reach the mainland

Frasco said once the Liloan seaport will be completed, the people in Camotes Islands will have three choices to reach the mainland.

“Sayud ta duha raman ang atoang port nga maabtan ngadto sa mainland - ang sa Lapu-lapu ug Danao city,” he said. 

Hopefully by May or June next year, the Liloan seaport will be completed that would allow the people of Camotes to reach Cebu City, Mandaue City, Consolacion, and Liloan or vice versa the fastest way.

Frasco’s scholarship and healthcare programs also continue. In fact, he said in his first term as a congressman, over 2,500 students in the 5th district were granted scholarships. 

“Ako usa ka ginikanan, sayud ta nga kaning edukasyon mao ranay usa ka butang nga atong ikabilin sa atong mga anak nga dili makawat, dili mawagtang og di ma prenda sa anak. Dapat tagaan gyud siya og insaktong pagtagad sa katilingbanan labi na gyud sa atoang gobyerno,” he said.

Frasco furthered that he allocated a total of P20 million to help the hospitalized residents of the fifth district. A P6 million budget was allotted for both Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital, another P5 million in Danao Provincial Hospital; P2 million in Sogod Hospital, and P1 million in San Francisco District Hospital in Camotes Island.

“Pwede ramo muduol sa opisina sa coordinator. Walay pili bisan unsay color ninyo sa politika kay dili ron panahon sa pamulitika kun dili panahon sa pangpanirbesyo. Duol lang mo namu kay kutob sa atong mahimo andam og tagana kaming mutabang kaninyong tanan,” he said. (Mylen Manto)