President Arroyo bids adieu to Ilonggos; unveils P160-M legacy project

June 28, 2010 10:21 pm 

By Perla G. Lena

CABATUAN, Iloilo, June 28 – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday bid adieu to thousands of Ilonggos as she also unveiled the marker of one of her legacy projects in Iloilo, the P160-million Tigum Bridge, which symbolizes her government’s commitment to bring back normalcy into the lives of thousands of Ilonggos after the devastation that was caused by the Typhoon Frank in 2008.

President Arroyo made a ceremonial drive-through of the newly constructed bridge in Barangay Tigum, Cabatuan town accompanied by outgoing Iloilo 3rd district Representative and incoming governor Arthur Defensor, Board Member and 3rd district Representative-elect Arthur Defensor Jr, Cabatuan Mayor Ramon Yee and other newly elected local officials in the province.

“We have worked on the rehabilitation of Typhoon Frank. It does not look an Armageddon that it looked in Typhoon Frank. We are very grateful for that and we thank all those who built this bridge and other infrastructure,” the President said.

She personally thanked Vitaliano Arcos, a widower with 16 children who was hired to work for the contractor that undertook the construction of the project. Arcos in return also expressed gratefulness to the President.

Mrs. Arroyo likened Arcos to Emperor Shah Jahan who constructed Taj Mahal in Agra, India in honor of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died while giving birth to their 14th child.

“I know that you have no money for Taj Mahal but you helped to make this Tigum Bridge,” she said.

Norberto Caballero, a tricycle driver, also testified how the project would be able to help them as he likewise expressed appreciation to President Arroyo for the project.

President Arroyo recalled how her administration had worked to extend financial aid, such as the Paglaum Fund, for the rehabilitation of Iloilo. She said they “did not wait for the bill to be passed into law before making the money available.

“We looked for where to get the money in the regular budget so that the rehabilitation would begin immediately,” she added, citing that in all her executive orders, the rehabilitation of areas affected by typhoon Frank was always included together with those badly hit by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

The occasion also served as an opportunity for her to congratulate the Defensors for their victories during the recent elections. She likewise credited Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias for helping her in the region.

“I’m very honored to be here on my last visit to Iloilo as President. Thank you for the landslide you gave me in 2004,” she said.

Meanwhile, Defensor Sr, who was in the brink of getting teary-eyed while delivering his message after the drive-through, recalled that he and Banias had to rush to Boracay Island last year and met with President Arroyo to ask for funds that would finance the immediate construction of the bridge.

“Madam President, Iloilo would not have been this way had it not been for you. This is the best way for you to say goodbye to the people of Iloilo,” he said.

“Madam President, for all the many things you did and gave for the people of Iloilo, we will always treasure it and it will be deeply embedded in our hearts and in the hearts of the people and province of Iloilo,” Defensor added.

Construction of the new Tigum Bridge was completed ahead of schedule. Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Rafael Yabut noted that President Arroyo ordered them to work 24/7 to fast track the completion of the project.

The bridge is situated along the thoroughfare that connects central towns of Iloilo to Iloilo City, which happened to be an old route going to provinces of Aklan and Capiz. (PNA) LAP/ajp/PGL


One Response to “President Arroyo bids adieu to Ilonggos; unveils P160-M legacy project”

  1. President Arroyo bids adieu to Ilonggos; unveils P160-M legacy …- Typhoon Pepeng on June 29th, 2010 1:18 am

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