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New roads in Bantayan Island done ahead of sched
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Friday, February 19, 2021
Gov. Gwen Garcia and local officials in Bantayan Island inaugurated various road projects done ahead of schedule. (Junjie Mendoza)

A group of women from Barangay Tabagak converged at the border of Barangay Bunakan and Barangay Maalat in Madridejos Thursday, February 18 for the inauguration of a 1.4-kilometer road stretch. 

The Tabagak-Maalat-Bunakan road in Madridejos was supposed to be completed by April 2021 but is done ahead of schedule despite the pandemic.

The expected arrival of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia that day to open a road section enlivened all the more the women who showed up to express their appreciation and thanks.

One of them is 65-years-old Inez Despi who is grateful for the wider road in their community, now at 6.1 meters. She shared how more improved roads make it easier to transport dried fish. 

She said a financier transports their fish products from the drying area, along the shoreline of Bunakan, to wholesale buyers.

“Taga-Barangay Sillon gyud ko pero dia man diri ang among buwaran, kuhaon lang ni sa among financier. Dali na nilang makuha, dali paghatod kay hapsay na man ang dalan ug lapad na,” Despi said.

Despite the brewing storm called “Auring," Gov Gwen said she had to come to Bantayan Island because “she promised to and the residents are waiting."

“Siling ko nga dili ako pwede nga dili mokadto sa Madridejos kay nakasaad na ako, naghuwat ra bang mga tawo,” the governor said in Lawisnon’s dialect to the delight of her audience.

The road completion is also attributed to the dedication of Engr. Romeo Villaceran of Rovilla Construction whose work continued despite the threat of Covid-19 mental fatigue.

A resident of Maalat, and a barangay chief himself, Villaceran made sure he is fit for the project. 

“Dili ko hangol og project. Trabahuon nako kadtong kaya lang nako humanon kay importante ang dignidad. Unsaon man nato nang daghan ta’g projects gidawat unya daghang reklamo sa Facebook nga wala mahuman. Magsige kita’g tigum aning kwarta, anhon ta man ning kwarta uy! Pero ang dungog, ang legasiya, dili gyud mabayran og sapi,” Villaceran expressed.

This matches the direction of Governor Gwen to bring back communal pride and dignity of people through the revival of livelihoods crushed by senseless suffering and fear caused by Covid-19.

The governor reiterated her commitment to provide wider and thicker roads in the Province that will last a long time to benefit the succeeding generations.

She acknowledges how roads are vital to economic development and growth. Functional roads open up more areas to entrepreneurs and visitors which stimulate economic and social development. 

This makes road improvements the most important of all public assets.

“Gipatawag gyud ming mga contractor sa Kapitolyo, giingnan mi nga padayon ang mga proyekto. Wala'y undangon,” Villaceran said.

Another impressive roadwork completed way ahead of schedule is the 2.8-kilometer Cogon-Kabac road section worth P41.7 million in the Municipality of Bantayan. Target date is May 8, 2021 but it is already 100-percent complete on February 17.

Groundbreaking of the third phase of Sulangan road section took place after Kabac. The 410-meter road stretch has a P6.027 million allocation.

The most exciting road project to look forward to is the Pooc-Maricaban Tourist Road in the town of Santa Fe.

The tourist road is designed to accommodate a bike lane to meet the needs of cycling tourists and bike enthusiasts. It is around three kilometers long with a P30.2-million fund

“Importante kaayo nako ang turismo. Maong sa dihang miingon si Mayor Thamar (Ithamar Espinosa) parte aning tourist road, wa gyud ko magduha-duha. Daghan ang galisod tungod sa mga paghigpit, maong Agusto pa lang gibuksan na nato ang turismo," Gov Gwen said

"Daghan na unya ang moanhi dinhi pagbalik kay nindot kaayo ang talan-awon. Ang tanan nangita og preskong hangin. Angay lang nga ato ning palapdan ang karsada. Mura na unya ni’g highway,” she added.

The governor further pointed out that there is already an existing five-meter concreted road leading to Pooc-Maricaban but is only four meters wide. 

She said that if only structures could move back to give way to an additional one meter on both sides, the entire stretch would provide better maneuvering space for vehicles on opposite directions. 

Fourth District Rep. Janice Salimbangon said that she and the governor will pool resources for roadworks to achieve 100 percent concreting of roads in Bantayan Island.

“Magkurambos mi ni Gov. Hutdon gyud ni namo’g pasemento ang kadalanan dinhi sa isla,” Salimbangon said, recalling memories of her late husband, former Congressman Benhur.

Congressman Benhur shared in the direction of the Capitol to provide better road infrastructure and network to assist resuscitation of livelihoods in order to sustain lives further.

Meanwhile, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cebu Provincial Director Jhoaden Lucera took notice of this collaboration. 

She applauded the synergy of legislators and local chief executives in carrying out projects and programs which supports the DILG's aim to strengthen the capability of local government units in delivering basic services to the citizens.

Also present during the road inauguration and groundbreaking ceremonies were 4th District Provincial Board Members Kerrie Keane Shimura, 5th District PB Member Andrei “Red” Duterte who chairs the Committee on Tourism, Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, Provincial Engineer Hector Jamora, barangay captains and community workers. (Eleanor Valeros)