Bicol towns expect more local dev't projects from PNoy

May 27, 2013 11:58 pm 

TINAMBAC, Camarines Sur, May 27 – Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III was simply impressed discovering the development prospects of some prime Bicol towns he visited when campaigning for the Team Pinoy early this month.

One is this coastal municipality which he acknowledged as a tourism potential, owing to the beautiful beaches bordering its wide and serene coastline along several coves that should be developed as among the attractions for the 56 million tourists that the country targets to receive by 2016.

Considered far-flung, being 20 kms off Naga City — the heart of Camarines Sur, this town of about 64,000 people — mostly dependent on agriculture and fisheries for living– is classified as first class.

Sitting along the rich fishing ground of San Miguel Bay, the town’s total agricultural area is estimated at 17,230 hectares, dominated by coconut plantations.

Fishponds cover around 464 hectares or 1.8 percent of the total agricultural area.

Quaint and slack, the place plays host to simple life away from the hassles of crowded, polluted and expensive city lifestyle.

“Padyak,” the local term for a bicycle with a sidecar, is the common mode of transportation between the downtown and the barangays.

Town mayor Ruel Velarde over the weekend said that with the interest expressed by Pres. Aquino on its tourism potentials, the municipality expects help from Malacañang in terms of major projects that would transform the place from a merely agricultural performer to a key tourist destination.

“We have various breathtaking sites which when developed by way of providing travel facilities and amenities will certainly make a difference in the local tourism industry, especially in eco-tourism,” Velarde said.

“Pres. Aquino did not make a promise but the enthusiasm over our place he demonstrated before us here during his visit, the first time that a Philippine president set foot on our land, was worth an unsaid commitment,” the mayor added.

Down the nearby town of Calabanga, a bigger municipality also classified as first class and home to around 80,000 people — mostly fishermen and farmers, Vice-mayor Philip Dumalasa said the President’s enthusiasm over the place was expressed during the same sortie through an assurance of various development projects.

The President, during his May 3 visit, according to Dumalasa, assured the municipality of a hospital, new irrigation systems and a seaport.

On the hospital, Pres. Aquino, before the presence of over 8,000 Calabangueños who attended a gathering at the Calabanga People’s Center, directed the Department of Health to provide funds for the construction of a district hospital in the municipality, the vice-mayor said

Calabanga has also been scheduled as among the beneficiaries of 15 irrigation projects that will be implemented across Camarines Sur province and apart from this, the President also announced during that affair that the construction of the Sabang-San Vicente seaport in the municipality has also been set for construction by August, with its completion expected on April next year, Dumalasa said.

According to Calabanga Mayor Evelyn Yu, the municipality, which sits along the Bicol River and San Miguel Bay that both serve as rich fishing grounds for its fishermen, is blessed rich natural resources which the President wants to be preserved and serve as a sustainable provider of livelihood to keep its people away from poverty.

“We have expansive uplands and fishing grounds that — side by side with agriculture, fishing and livestock-raising — constitute major economic activities,” Yu said of the municipality that is known for the production of shellfish, oysters, capiz shells, prawns, shrimps and other marine species.

These marine resources provide industries such as fish processing and fish paste and other marine by-product manufacturing, she said.

Both Velarde and Yu expressed hope that although their municipalities never felt neglected by the Aquino administration, the next development projects that the President intends to deliver to the two localities will materialize soon or within the last half of his term.

Their towns are economic growth areas that the President wants to be developed more to maximize their contributions to the national economy, the two officials added. (PNA)

HBC/FGS/DOC/CBD/

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