Opening of 15,000th Botika ng Barangay Outlet at Tiring, Cabatuan Iloilo  (VIDEO 3)

Brgy. Tiring, Cabatuan, Iloilo
24 September 2009

After bringing home to Manila the 120 Overseas Filipino Workers from Jeddah and Riyadh, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo went directly to Iloilo and led the ribbon-cutting of the 15,000th Botika ng Barangay in the country which was followed by the Regional Media Interview in Brgy. Tiring, Cabatuan, Iloilo.

During her interview with Aksyon Radyo broadcaster John Sapio, President Arroyo talked about the benefits brought by Botika ng Barangay and interacted with its beneficiaries. The people expressed their gratitude to President Arroyo for the ease brought to them by the Botika ng Barangay. She also discussed her previous foreign trips which concentrated on foreign trade investments.

Botika ng Barangay is a project of the Departmet of Health in bringing affordable over-the-counter medicines which are effective and accessible to the barangay inhabitants.

Also present in the event were Iloilo Governor Neil Tupas Sr., Cong. Arthur Defensor, Cabatuan Mayor Ramon Yee, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, Department of Trade and Industy Secretary Peter Favila, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Marianito Roque, and Presidential Legal Adviser Raul Gonzales.

 Video 1 (PGMA Interview 1st Part)     Video 2 (PGMA Interview 2nd Part)

 Video 3 (Opening)

Video and caption courtesy of RTV Malacañang

DPWH 6 Director Rolando Asis welcomes President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her July 28 Iloilo Visit. The DPWH implements the high impact projects declared by President Arroyo during her State of the Nation Address (SONA)in 2008 and these are the road widening project from Iloilo City to the new Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan-Sta.Barbara; Metro Iloilo Radial Road and the Pandan-Libertad Road ending up to the boundary of Antique and Aklan Province. Photo also shows DPWH Deputy Usec Rafael Yabot (partly hidden) PA Raul Banias, Secretary Augusto Syjuco, Mayor Ramon Yee of Cabtuan, Governor Niel Tupas, and Airport Area Manager Efren Nagrama. (PIA6/T. Villavert)

DA tells Iloilo farmers to prepare for El Nino

PIA Press Release, 2009/11/23

Iloilo City (23 November) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) in the province of Iloilo has been encouraging farmers to prepare for the ill effects of El Nino as part of Climate Mitigation measures.

DA Regional Technical Dir. Remelyn Recoter said during the "Second Farmers' Congress" in Cabatuan last week that the farmers should work hand in hand with the DA in these endeavors.

Recoter said they are currently developing rice varieties like the submergent-tolerant and rought-tolerant varieties for flooded and EL Nino affected areas respectively.

She said these new varieties are needed by farmers because environment experts had reported that food production decreases as temperature increases.

The DA officer said the provinces of Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental are vulnerable to the El Nino event this year.

She said farmers should adopt the "palayamanan" technology wherein livestock and inland fisheries, as well as vegetables are grown in addition to rice and corn.

DA also asked farmers to adopt modified rapid composting to mitigate effects of climate change.

Recently, they have distributed shredders to some local government units to help farming communities with composting. (PIA6/ESS)

RDCC-6 communication, warning group readies new tack

PIA Press Release, 2009/10/27

Iloilo City (27 October) -- The devastation wrought by typhoons "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" in Luzon reminded again the people of Western Visayas who reeled from the onslaught of typhoon "Frank" in June last year to fine-tune their communication and warning system against natural calamities.

No less than Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Rosario Cabrera, who is also the vice chair of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC), underscored its importance.

The "readiness" of the Communications and Warning Group headed by Engr. Nestor Antonio Monroy of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) was reviewed during a recent meeting of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) at the OCD office here.

The activity is in line with the efforts of the government to enhance the capability of the country to cope with and mitigate the effects of disasters brought about by climate change. The Philippine Climate Change Act of 2009, otherwise known as Republic Act No. 9729, signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on October 23 institutionalized these efforts.

And what does the RDCC communications and warning group have for emergencies arising from natural calamities?

Engr. Monroy presented as one of their readiness strategies the early warning and communications network for emergency response on strandees that is activated especially during a severe weather disturbance for the benefit of maritime transport passengers.

He also presented the proposed flood early warning mechanism that would be put in place in all major river systems in the region.

So far, the system is already in place at Iloilo's Tigum-Aganan river area with a network of volunteers in the towns of Alimodian, Maasin, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, San Miguel, and Pavia and in Iloilo City.

Monroy said they also have started establishing a similar network for Sibalom River covering the towns of Leon, Tubungan, and Tigbauan, Jalaur River Basin involving 12 municipalities and Passi City, and Jaro River.

Disaster management officials of Negros Occidental were keen on adopting the system in their province.

In order to make RDCC's communications and warning system more responsive, Monroy said they are proposing to revise its "OPLAN Panawagan" operating manual by making use of rapid quick response teams, modifying its operating procedures, and incorporating the emergency response system on strandees and flood early warning communication.

The group also passed two resolutions – one adopting the use of the flag system to indicate typhoon signals in seaports and the other requesting PAGASA or the weather bureau to provide group members with SMS weather bulletins especially during severe weather situations.

Cabrera pointed out that it was important to ascertain the readiness of the communication and warning group of RDCC because of the complexity of natural calamities affecting the region. (PIA 6-JSC)

Science Month to culminate with YES-O Congress

PIA Press Release, 2009/09/15

Iloilo (15 September) -- The celebration of Science Month this September, spearheaded by the Department of Education (DepEd), will culminate with the holding of YES-O Congress on the 26th and the 27th this month.

Ms. Rose Eden Calaor, Science Supervisor for Secondary Education in Iloilo, said the observance of Science Month is anchored on the theme:"Adapting to Diverse Science Cultures for Development" brought about by increasing global concern for environment and climate change and the need to take concerted actions.

Calaor said the DepEd Division of Iloilo has issued Order No. 72, s. of 2003 declaring September as Science Month and requiring schools to undertake activities manifesting efforts in protecting, safeguarding and conserving the environment.

This year's celebration will be highlighted by the YES-O Congress at the Cabatuan National Comprehensive High School to be attended by about 3,000 students from all over the province of Iloilo.

Activities will include pre-Congress and Congress Day events, to include spelling contest, lecturettes, film showing, on-the-spot PoeTREE Writing, Poster Making Contest and essay Writing which will focus on Rainwater Harvesting, Oration Contest, Science Quiz Bee, Olympics, and Tree Planting.

Five high schools in the municipalities in the Tigum-Aganan Watershed Area will be presenting creative interpretations of Impact of Climate Change on different aspects of life.

Pavia National High School will present impact of Climate change on Flooding; Sta. Barbara National High School on climate Change and Ground Water; Cabatuan National High School on Climate Change and Health and Sanitation; Oton National High School on Climate Change and Agriculture; and Alimodian National High School on climate and Potable Water.

The overall theme of the YES-O Congress is "1 2 TREE 4 LIFE which stands for Lasting Initiative For the Environment. "

Meanwhile, President Gloria Arroyo has included members of the academe in pressing ahead for a massive Green Philippine Environment Plan that includes reforestation, preservation of reefs and waterways and one that scrubs land and air of pollutants that endanger the health of citizens. (PIA6/ESS)

Hiligaynon News: PGMA road project sa Iloilo matapos sa Disyembre

PIA Press Release, 2009/07/29

Iloilo City (29 July) -- Ginalauman nga matapos sa palaabuton nga Disyembre ang bag-o nga dalan kalakip sa nagapanguna nga proyekto ni Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo sa Iloilo.

Ini ang ginpalambot ni Undersecretary Rafael Yabut sang Department of Public Works and Highways kay Pangulong Arroyo sang magbisita ini sa Oton-Mambog road site sining Martes.

Pagkatapos mabatian ang mayo nga balita nagikan kay Yabut, ginpahayag sang Pangulo sa mga residente nga nagalaum siya nga ang bag-o nga dalan mangin ligwa para mag-ayo ang pangabuhi sang mga taga-Oton.

Ginsuguran ang konstruksyon sang road project sadtong Hulyo 23, 2008 nga maidid ginamonitor sang Presidente ang developments sini nga nagatuyo mapasanyog ang social and economic conditions sang mga lokal nga residente.

Ang road project sa diin 97 porsyento nga tapos na, kabahin sang importante nga dalan humalin sa Iloilo Airport sa Cabatuan pakadto sa banwa sang Oton.

Ginakonektar sini ang Oton-Mambog-Caboloan-Abilay-San Jose-San Miguel road padulong sa Iloilo Airport. Ang pagkonkreto sining 2.218 kilometer road sa Oton nga may pondo sang P30 milyunes handa na para sa implementasyon.

Ang Oton-Mambog road project isa lamang sa madamo nga imprastruktura gina-implementar sang gobyerno nasyunal sa Iloilo. (PIA)

Feature: Bayanihan savings project benefits poor families

10/13/2008. Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Asst. Secretary Raul Banias answers a question raised by Punong Barangay Pedro Asencio of Brgy. Amurao, Cabatuan related to road maintenance during the Pulong-Pulong conducted in the said municipality, October 10, 2008. The gathering also coincided with the 2nd media briefing of the Task Force Bangon Panay which was attended by the Regional Association of National Government Executives and the town's community leaders. Also in photo is DPWH 6 ARD Juby Cordon. (LAFrench/PIA)
PIA Press Release, 2008/04/09
by ES Subong

Iloilo City (9 April) -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has embarked on a community-based savings and micro-finance program all over the country several years ago, which now counts on 146,000 beneficiaries enjoying a combined savings of more than 132 million pesos.

This mass-based banking system is called the Bayanihan Savings Replication Project (BSRP) which is in partnership with the Local Government Units (LGUs).

The BSRP operationalization include values-formation and enterprise development program, building on the local capacity of low-income families by adopting the Filipino value of working together and of thrift.

The BSRP, according to DILG Information Officer Ana Carolina Jardiolin, implements mass-based savings where members remit during their weekly meeting a savings they have pledged to make.

The members are then trained to undertake micro-finance activities and after six months, their savings are then placed in livelihood activities, such as maintaining a sari-sari stores, hog raising and retailing of agricultural products.

The DILG has documented that the BSRP partnership with the LGUs also brings benefits for the families and the community by increasing family incomes through savings and capital build up, besides promoting self-reliance, unity and entrepreneurship.

The case of Bgy. Amurao, Cabatuan, Iloilo, which got the distinction of being one of the LGU Best practices documented, showed that the BSRP there eliminated some undesirable habits of the people, like gambling, indifference to local development projects, lack of prudence in spending their hard-earned money and a sheer disregard for the effects of their activities on the environment.

Today, with the support of Cabatuan Mayor Ramon Yee and the Sangguniang Bayan that drafted a resolution adopting the program, the BSRP has organized the Amurao Kiddie Bayanihan Center, replicating their savings scheme.

The DILG hopes that the BSRP can be formed into a union or federation of cooperatives, in the years to come, when the members and the LGUs can develop together more effectively as entrepreneurs and development managers. (PIA 6)

Reopening Of Imelda Marcos Bridge (Photo at right)
DPWH 09/22/2008

The typhoon damaged E. Marcos bridge connecting towns of Maasin and Cabatuan, Iloilo has been reopened September 22, 2008 to light vehicular traffic. The DPWH Region 6 under the leadership of Director Rolando Asis in compliance to the directive of Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr. and Undersecretary Rafael C. Yabut, in-charge of the operation in Visayas, fast-track the rehabilitation of the bridge and was able to open the bridge three (3) months after its structure was affected by typhoon “Frank”. Lower photo show residents and motorists expressing their appreciation for the reopening of E. Marcos Bridge.

Iloilo Bridge Soon To Re-open
DPWH 09/10/08

The typhoon damaged E. Marcos bridge connecting towns of Maasin and Cabatuan, Iloilo will soon be passable. In his report to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr. and Undersecretary Rafael C. Yabut, in-charge of the operation in Visayas, DPWH-Region 6 Director Rolando Asis said that they are fast-tracking the rehabilitation of the bridge damaged by typhoon “Frank” and expects to open to vehicular traffic by mid September 2008. Rehabilitation of the E. Marcos Bridge costs P190 million and DPWH is doubling its efforts to complete the project sooner. Earlier, DPWH opened August 15, 2008 to light vehicular traffic Tigum Bridge in Barangay Tabucan, Cabatuan after it underwent immediate repair works. Further rehabilitation activities will be performed to strengthen Tigum Bridge considering that it is located along old Iloilo-Capiz Route. Other bridges in Iloilo undergoing repair works are Macapagal-Syjuco Friendship Bridge in Alimodian, Baltazar-Aquino Bridge in Leon, and Camanggahan Bridge in Guimbal. Undersecretary Yabut has instructed Asis to ensure that all reconstruction activities in adherence to the policy quality of works policy of the Department.

Maasin-Cabatuan bridge to re-open soon

10/10/2008. DPWH 6 Asst. Regional Director Juby Cordon explains to media the rehabilitation efforts done by the DPWH to make the Tigum Bridge in Cabatuan, Iloilo passable after it was damaged by Typhoon Frank during the recent on-site visitation led by Task Force Bangon Panay. Also shown in photo is Task Force Bangon Panay Executive Director Asst. Secretary Raul Banas. (PIA 6)
PIA Press Release, 2008/09/15

Iloilo City (15 September) -- Residents and motorists may soon use the E. Marcos (Amerang) bridge that connects the towns of Maasin and Cabatuan which was heavily damaged by typhoon "frank".

Department of Public Works and Highways 6 (DPWH 6) Director Rolando de Asis, in his report to Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and UnderSecretary Rafael C. Yabut, in charge of the operation in Visayas, said that they are fast-tracking the rehabilitation of the damaged bridge which is expected to be opened to vehicular traffic by mid September 2008.

According to the DPWH report the rehabilitation of the E. Marcos Bridge costs P190 million and efforts are now being doubled to complete the project sooner.

Last August 15, 2008, the DPWH opened the Tigum Bridge in Barangay Tabucan, Cabatuan to light vehicular traffic after it underwent immediate repair works.

"Further rehabilitation activities will be performed to strengthen the bridge considering that it is located along old Iloilo-Capiz Route", said the DPWH in the report.

Other bridges in Iloilo undergoing repair works are Macapagal-Syjuco Friendship Bridge in Alimodian, Baltazar-Aquino Bridge in Leon, and Camanggahan Bridge in Guimbal.

Undersecretary Yabut has instructed Asis to ensure that all reconstruction activities in adherence to the policy quality of works policy of the Department. (PIA)

Tigum Bridge Now Open
DPWH 08/18/08

Making your way through the eastern part of Iloilo and towards the province of Capiz could be a bit easier now with the reopening of a vital bridge. The Department of Public Works and Highways announces that effective August 18, 2008, Tigum Bridge in Cabatuan, Iloilo which was damaged during the onslaught of tyhoon Frank that hit Western Visayas at the later part of June 2008 has been reopened to vehicular traffic. DPWH Regional Director Rolando M. Asis personally supervised the construction of the temporary bridge on a round the clock basis to immediately restore traffic passage in the area. Using steel bailey panels to temporarily make up for the damaged two (2) spans, the bridge can now accommodate load of not more than 10 tons. Aside from the prompt work of the DPWH, the people of the eastern part of Iloilo is thankful to Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Iloilo 3rd Congressional District Representative Arthur Defensor, Sr., for the funding assistance extended for the repair of bridge. Tigum Bridge connects Iloilo City to the towns of Cabatuan, Maasin, Janiuay, Lambunao and Calinog. It is also along Iloilo-Capiz Old route connecting towns of Tapaz, Jamindan and Dumalag, Province of Capiz. Asis said that Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr. and Undersecretary Rafael C. Yabut, in-charge of the operation in the Visayas, has instructed him to prepare all pertinent plans, documents including cost estimates needed for the construction of a permanent pre-stress concrete girder replacement bridge. DPWH has also carried out improvement works at the New Lucena-Sta. Barbara Road to serve as an alternate route to the Tigum Bridge.

Repair Works
DPWH 07/28/08

The Department of Public Works and Highways undertakes the repair and rehabilitation of damaged bridges in Iloilo caused by typhoon “Frank”. Photo shows DPWH Region 6 Director inspecting the progress of repair activities at Tigum and Ulian Bridges in Cabatuan and Lambunao, Iloilo, respectively. Behind Director Asis are the bailey panels to be utilized as temporary bridges.

Damaged Bridge
DPWH 06/26/2008

Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., Undersecretary Rafael C. Yabut and Region 6 Director Rolando Asis assess the extent of damaged to Imelda Marcos Bridge in Cabatuan, Iloilo. Iloilo is among the worst hit province by recent typhoon Frank.

PGMA's plane makes historic landing at new Iloilo airport

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s plane lands for the first time at the New Iloilo Airport. Inset: President Gloria Arroyo is briefed by Sec. Rafael Coscolluela, presidential adviser for western visayas on the development activities in the region. (PIA 6)
OP Wednesday, 13 June 2007

ILOILO CITY – The presidential plane carrying President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and party made a historic touch down at Runway 20 of the new Iloilo airport in Sta. Barbara-Cabatuan area at about 9:50 am today.

Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas, Sr. led other provincial officials in welcoming Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo to inaugurate the PhP 6.2 billion New Iloilo Airport of Development Project (NIADP) in Sta. Barbara-Cabatuan towns in the Second District.

A state-of-the-art, the new airport is of international standards.

Pres. Arroyo will lead the inauguration with Japanese Ambassador Ryuchiro Yamazaki who also arrived for this event, along with Department of Transportation and Communications Sec. Leandro Mendoza and other cabinet members.

In an earlier interview, Gov. Tupas said that he’s very much elated that finally, the new airport could be inaugurated, since it could boost the economy of Iloilo and its tourism industry.

The NIADP, which is a major project under the Super Region, has been realized through the Special Yen Loan Package Agreement entered into by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Government of the Philippines (GOP).

Contracted by Taisei-Shimizu Joint Ventures for a project cost of Y9,487,544,058 yen and the GOP counterpart of P1,625,508,763 with the additional amount of P129,985,322, the NIADP is being considered by Engr. Manuel Lauden, Deputy Project Manager, as the best and the first to have modern, latest technology belonging to Category F as determined by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo waves to the crowd on her arrival to inagurate of the new iloilo airport in Cabatuan and sta.Barbara in iloilo,a Philippine-Japan joint project, The development of iloilo airport is a part of DOTC strategic objective which has been adopted as a national development thrust in the air transportation to develop airports of international standard to improve air transportation safely and boost economic development. Photo by JERRY CARUAL/PCPO
The NIADP as qualifier for international standards lies on a 188-hectare complex in Sta. Barbara-Cabatuan towns, about 20 kilometers away from the old airport that will be closed down in Iloilo City. It is designed to handle 1.2 million passengers and 11,500 tons of cargoes annually.

It has a three-storey passenger terminal building which has been designed to separate departing and arriving passengers. There are also 10 check-in counters, 6 X-ray machines, Mabuhay lounges for departing passengers and VIP room, smoking rooms, concessionaire areas for shoppers, lost and found section, counters for hotel and car rental bookings, allocated public telephone booths and other amenities.

The pre-departure area is located at the third floor of the terminal building with at least 436 seating capacity.

There is also a 1,300 square meter cargo terminal building where the covered platform, government offices, restrooms and cargo handling area are found. It is also in here that the 3 major airline companies Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines are occupying. The cargo terminal building is being secured by fence with guard house and parking space for clients and operators.

The control tower is a 9-storey 35 sq. meters structure that operates and control air traffic for the airport with a 2-storey operation building that houses modern communication equipment and briefing room for pilots.

Runway for this airport is 2,500 meters x 45 meters so it could accommodate Airbus 330 with seating capacity of 276. The apron is 48,200 square meters which can accommodate 6 aircrafts at one time.

Other structures in the airport complex are the 2-story Administration Building, Maintenance Building and Fire Rescue Stations state-of-the-art navigational aids which enable the airport to operate after dark, and the runway designation to cater to flights even in bad weather.

Ensuring the NIADP to be environment friendly, there is a single story Sewage Treatment Plant that would be the final holding area for the generated domestic sewage. There is also the Material Recovery Facility structure for segregation of the solid waste. -By Annabel J. Petinglay (PNA) CAN/AJP/vlo

Stronger RP-Japan ties boost development efforts

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo welcomed by Ambassador Ryuichiro Yamazaki (L) and Iloilo Governor Niel Tupaz on her arrival to inaugurate of the new iloilo airport in Cabatuan and sta.Barbara in iloilo,a Philippine-Japan joint project, The development of iloilo airport is a part of DOTC strategic objective which has been adopted as a national development thrust in the air transportation to develop airports of international standard to improve air transportation safely and boost economic development.(RENY PAMPOLINA/PCPO)
PIA Press Release 2007/06/13

Iloilo City (13 June) -- Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Ryuichiro Yamazaki averred that bilateral relationships between the two countries “are better than ever before.”

Yamazaki joined President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the inauguration today, June 13, of the New Iloilo Airport of international standards located in the municipality of Cabatuan. Aside from the new Iloilo Airport, the government is also set to complete seven other airport projects that would further boost tourism, investment, trade and agriculture.

The Japanese government provided the bulk of the funds that went into the construction of the airport to the tune of P6.3 billion from a special yen loan agreement signed in 2000 by the Philippine government and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The total cost of the project amounted to P8.759 billion including the Philippine counterpart.

Citing the closer bilateral ties, Yamazaki vowed that Japan shall continue to help in strengthening the Philippine economic structure towards sustainable growth.

The two governments have come up with a bilateral agreement called the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) that calls for the promotion of closer economic ties between the neighboring countries. Japan is presently the country’s second biggest trade partner.

He said he is happy to note that the Philippine government decided to push through with the airport facility as it would help Iloilo meet the growing demand for air transport in the island of Panay.

He cited recent statistics which showed that the old Iloilo Airport had the fourth biggest volume of passengers last year next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the international airports in Cebu and Davao.

The Japanese ambassador said the presence of “a new and more efficient airport” will boost economic activities that would “contribute to the improvement of the quality of lives of many Filipinos in Panay Island and other surrounding areas.”

PGMA IN ILOILO--President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is welcomed by Iloilo Governor Niel Tupaz upon her arrival in Cabatuan, Iloilo Wednesday (June 13) as guest of honor and speaker during the inauguration of the new Iloilo International Airport. Also in photo is Japanese Ambassador Ryuichiro Yamazaki (left). (Rolando Mailo-OPS/NIB Photo)

He also considered the completion of the airport as another success story of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines in cooperation with the Philippine government’s efforts towards poverty alleviation and mitigation of regional development disparities.

He said the project is one of the examples of the comprehensive partnership between the Philippines and Japan towards promoting our bilateral relationships which are better than ever before.

Existing diplomatic and trade ties between the two governments have resulted in the implementation of various joint projects in the Philippines in the areas of agriculture and support infrastructure.

The inauguration signaled the start of the commercial operations of the new airport starting June 14 and the closure of the old Iloilo Airport in Mandurriao district.

After the inaugural program, President Arroyo also inducted into office the new officers of the Regional Association of National Government Executives (RANGE) led by PIA6 Director and ADG for Visayas, Atty. Ma. Janet C. Mesa. (JSC/PIA 6)

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is briefed by Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza (right) as they inspect the facilities of the new Iloilo International Airport following its inauguration Wednesday (June 13) at Cabatuan, Iloilo. (Rolando Mailo-OPS/NIB Photo)

PGMA's Speech during the Inauguration of the New Iloilo Airport

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gestures on her speech during the inaguration of the new iloilo airport in Cabatuan and sta.Barbara in iloilo,a Philippine-Japan joint project, The development of iloilo airport is a part of DOTC strategic objective which has been adopted as a national development thrust in the air transportation to develop airports of international standard to improve air transportation safely and boost economic development.(RENY PAMPOLINA/PCPO)
(Pre-departure area, Iloilo Airport Cabatuan, Iloilo. 13 June 2007)

Thank you, Congressman Art Defensor. It's just so appropriate that you would introduce me not only because we are now in your district but also because you conceived of this Iloilo airport when you were governor of Iloilo. Congratulations!

Ambassador Yamazaki, thank you so much. Through you, to the Japanese government for the loan that only charged 0.9 percent so that we could build and complete this airport. Governor Niel Tupas, congratulations! If Governor Defensor conceived of the airport, you gave birth to this airport. Congresswoman Judy Syjuco, congratulations! Also because while this terminal is located in the district of Congressman Defensor, the entrance to the airport, the access to the airport is in your district. Congratulations!

I would like to also greet our other congressmen who are here today from the other districts. We have Congressman Ferj Biron and we have Congressman Jun Gonzalez. And not only from the other district but from the other island, Congressman Monico Puentevella, looking forward also to the day when we inaugurate the Bacolod airport in August.

May I greet the mayors who are here especially Mayor Ramon Yee of Cabatuan. We are right here in his jurisdiction. And all the other mayors and board members of Iloilo who are here today including the mayor of Iloilo City Jerry Treñas.

Of course, to our cabinet members who are here. We have Secretary Larry Mendoza, under whom the airport is operating or will be operating starting today and having the first flights tomorrow. But we have also our two cabinet members from Iloilo: we have the chair of the Technical eEducation Skills Development Authority, Buboy Syjuco, from this district. And from Iloilo City, we have our Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez. And our Presidential Adviser for Region VI, Secretary Lito Coscoluella. Also from outside the region but very much concerned with the island of Iloilo being one of the top rice producing provinces in the country and still having a very important agricultural economy, Secretary Arthur Yap. I would like to greet the Commander of the Central Command, Lieutenant General Cardozo Luna. And the other gentlemen and ladies of the uniformed services, guests, government officials, ladies and gentlemen:

This was a beautiful story. When I was riding in the plane with Congressman Defensor and we were having our private meeting on the briefing, he told me the story of how the Iloilo airport was conceived and how finally it was born. When he was governor about 1997 or so, there were some Japanese consultants who came and said that Japan might be interested in funding an airport but they were choosing among several airports to modernize or to upgrade and one of the rivals was Bacolod, and at the end of the day Bacolod was chosen. Then came the Germans, KFW, because they like the fact that this used to be already a Japanese airport, air force airport. Therefore, technically, technical, technically it was very suitable for an airport and an airport of international standards. So the feasibility study was made and submitted to the KFW of Germany for funding. And it was offered to be funded by KFW. But at that time KFW was offering six percent interest which should have been prohibitive given our very, very bad fiscal condition at that time. And during one of the meetings that then... Already Congressman Defensor had already in our administration with the DOTC trying to find a way to fund this airport, one of the senior personnel of the DOTC whispered to him, there is still some leftover of Obuchi fund and we may get it for one percent. Actually, the Philippines is the biggest user of the Obuchi fund, incidentally. And so when it was submitted to the Obuchi fund it was approved during our administration not at one percent interest but at 0.9 percent interest. And now this airport is born.

Nagapasalamat gid kita sa mga congressmen, mga senador, gobernador, mga LGUs sang probinsya na nagpakusog para matapos dayon ining atong airport.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivers her speech during the inauguration of the new Iloilo International Airport at Cabatuan, Iloilo Wednesday (June 13). Also in photo are (seated from left) Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Rep. Judy Syjuco, Rep. Arthur Defensor, Japanese Ambassador Ryuichiro Yamazaki, and Iloilo Governor Niel Tupaz. (Rolando Mailo-OPS/NIB Photo)

Congratulations! Sa mga pumuluyo sa Cabatuan. Mga kasimanwa ko diri sa Iloilo tapos na gid ang dugay nato nga ginhulat. Tatlo ka tuig ang nagligad halin sa pagkari kita sa groundbreaking. If you remember in January 2004... Oh! Let me also greet Governor Sally Perez from the neighboring province of antique. You were also there in the groundbreaking. Subong ari na ang bag-o nga airport. May state-of-the-art nga galamiton kag moderno nga passenger terminal building. In fact, Secretary Mendoza says this is the most modern and most beautiful airport in the Philippines today.

This is a symbol of our collective political will and the people's support. We're also pleased that preparations to bid out the old airport in Mandurriao are underway. I was asking Secretary Mendoza, what is the status of the Mandurriao airport, because we need to fund the servicing of this airport. We need to fund the serving of the loan on the airport and we want to get it from the privatization of the Mandurriao airport. And his report is that there was a failed bid because the three bidders: Gokongwei, SM and -- no, no. Ayala did not join -- bank of South Asia did not submit any bid higher than 800 million pesos and the floor price is 1.2 billion pesos. So now the department of finance is the one, Larry? Who will ask them to which... Whoever one of them will be able to upgrade their bid to 1.2, at least 1.2, then the one that gives the best offer will be the one that will be chosen. But since the bid failed, even outsiders now can come and say, "hey! I can give it to you for 1.2 billion." I'm recounting this to you in the interest of transparency so that you all know where we are.

And because leading funds for this project was not easy -- in the past the national government's earning were barely enough to service payments for our ballooning debts -- seeking soft loans at that time of fiscal crisis loomed... Looming in our horizon demanded the combined efforts of all. But we were not deterred by the magnitude of the challenges, with concerted effort and the faith of all the Ilonggos, we concentrated on completing it on time. In fact, Larry Mendoza says that this is one of the fastest construction periods for an airport of international standards. From January of 2004 to June of 2007 is barely 30 months.

Tough and timely decisions, and long and hard work have made our dream come true. And the results are here for all the world to see. This is a shining example of the best that is yet to come for all the Filipino people.

We broke the back of our economic lethargy... Our lethargic economic legacy by a combination of tough fiscal measures and equally political and difficult decisions to make more revenue. Our economy has reached a new level of maturity with some of the strongest fundamentals in a generation. I thank our congressmen for making those tough decisions to raise revenue. And as Niel Tupas says -- although Frank Drilon is not here today -- we acknowledge that he was the senate president during that time when those difficult revenue measures were passed.

Now, that we have the revenue, and now that compared to before when we were looking and looking for who could lend money. Now that creditors are all coming, offering us to fund various projects, our administration will focus on pro-growth, pro-trade and pro-investment strategies that will lift our people up from poverty and make the Philippines finally in contention as a real investment destination. And with this Iloilo airport here, Iloilo is also in contention as a major investment destination.

Indi lang investment, mas madamo na gid ang turista nga maka-ari kag makita sa katahom sang iloilo kag Guimaras. Ginsuguran na ang road widening sang kalsada nga Iloilo City-Cabatuan, and Congressman Art Defensor said that we should also work on asking the DPWH, since our regional director is here, to examine how much it would cost, so we can have the Cabatuan to Calinog airport as well. Asphalt overlay.

Kinahanglan pa nga kaayuhun ang iban dalan pakadto diri sa airport. Because we want this to be the hub of new economic development. And as I said earlier, Iloilo is not just now an area for investment and tourism but still an important area for agriculture. Of course Iloilo is no longer number one in rice production. Nueva Ecija is number one in rice production. Nonetheless, Iloilo with this airport will really have a new source of great income and that is tourism.

But we still want your production to continue, not necessarily because... Or agricultural production, not necessarily because we want you to remain an agricultural country -- we want you to become a tourism country -- but because we want you as much as possible to be self-sufficient in your food production including the servicing of the food requirements, the food and beverage requirements of the various tourist areas that are sure to come up with this Iloilo airport.

I was telling Arty and art in the plane that when I go to Boracay, it's very sad to buy souvenir products that come from Indonesia or made in China. I mean, if you buy a sundress, why does it have to be a batik sundress. Why can't it be a Hablon sundress or an Iloilo silk sundress. You know, things like that. And why did they have to import their vegetables for their salad from Baguio and Benguet. Why can't they not produce it in the highlands of Iloilo. And so this is what we would like to see in the years to come.

I was also telling them the story of Bali. I don't know the size of Bali but I have the impression it's about like Iloilo. But Bali started with Kuta, that little beach there that is like the Boracay of today -- actually, Boracay is more beautiful -- but from Kuta development has spread throughout the whole Bali. And you have many other beaches now outside of Kuta. But it's not only the beaches that makes Bali so attractive. One is the accessibility. Because you can fly straight to Bali from Australia. You don't have to fly to Jakarta, you can bypass Jakarta. Well, that will be solved because you can now fly straight from some Asian capital to exactly to Iloilo. In fact, again in the interest of transparency, I'd like to announce that the DOTC and the C.A.B. have just finished their negotiations with the government of Korea for 19,000 new seats, airline seats, because Korea's make up one-fourth of all our three million tourists. And Secretary Mendoza told me that he will... In granting the actual licenses to fly into the country, he will assign several of the applications to land right here in Iloilo airport.

And so when all those things happen then... And tourism grows, then we want to be like Bali. Everything coming from here. Food coming from here. Restaurant food, hotel food coming from Panay Island to include Antique because sally is here. Actually, sally is benefiting from Boracay tourism because some of the resorts are already in Northern Antique. But we also want the souvenirs to come from here. So with this airport ang isa pa na kinahanglan naton padamuon pa naton ang produktibidad sa aton mga vegetables and even our nice consumer products that can be sold in the tourist shops for souvenirs. Because tourism earns for Spain more than oil earns for Saudi Arabia. And this Iloilo airport is really a symbol of the future direction of Iloilo and Panay province, and even of the Philippines. The Philippine economy is stable and strong.

And we can say after the last elections, how peaceful it was. How stable the path we have set for economic reforms has not been upset by partisan elections. And if you want proof of that statement, just look at the ones who are here in this platform today. From different contending parties in the last elections, we are all together for the future of Iloilo, Panay Island and the Philippines.

Gani subong nga natapos na ang eleksiyon ibalik naton ang focus para mas magdako pa ang ekonomiya. And so that is the message of this Iloilo airport. We all went through tough times to conceive and to give birth to this airport. Let's be together to make it grow and reach its fulfillment for the good of Iloilo, Panay Island and the Philippines.

Damo gid nga salamat kag mabuhi kita tanan!


Maasin-Cabatuan bridge to re-open soon

PIA 2008/09/15

Iloilo City (15 September) -- Residents and motorists may soon use the E. Marcos (Amerang) bridge that connects the towns of Maasin and Cabatuan which was heavily damaged by typhoon "frank".

Department of Public Works and Highways 6 (DPWH 6) Director Rolando de Asis, in his report to Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and UnderSecretary Rafael C. Yabut, in charge of the operation in Visayas, said that they are fast-tracking the rehabilitation of the damaged bridge which is expected to be opened to vehicular traffic by mid September 2008.

According to the DPWH report the rehabilitation of the E. Marcos Bridge costs P190 million and efforts are now being doubled to complete the project sooner.

Last August 15, 2008, the DPWH opened the Tigum Bridge in Barangay Tabucan, Cabatuan to light vehicular traffic after it underwent immediate repair works.

"Further rehabilitation activities will be performed to strengthen the bridge considering that it is located along old Iloilo-Capiz Route", said the DPWH in the report.

Other bridges in Iloilo undergoing repair works are Macapagal-Syjuco Friendship Bridge in Alimodian, Baltazar-Aquino Bridge in Leon, and Camanggahan Bridge in Guimbal.

Undersecretary Yabut has instructed Asis to ensure that all reconstruction activities in adherence to the policy quality of works policy of the Department. (PIA)

PGMA to conduct aerial inspection of typhoon Frank-devastated areas of Iloilo Tuesday
Sunday, 29 June 2008

ILOILO CITY – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to conduct an aerial inspection Tuesday of the areas devastated by typhoon Frank around here before presiding over the regular Tuesday Cabinet meeting at the regional offices of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) at the Fort San Pedro here.

The said Cabinet meeting was originally scheduled to be held in Digos City, Davao del Sur – which is celebrating its 41st founding anniversary -- but the President had the venue transferred here so she could have more time to inspect the damage wrought by howler Frank.

Internationally codenamed Fengshen for “god of the wind,” the super typhoon – which capsized the MV Princess of the Stars, the jewel vessel of Sulpicio Lines, in the rough waters off Romblon – also poured down double the normal rainfall here on that fateful weekend over June 20-22 (Friday to Sunday).

The President shall fly over the towns of Alimondian, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara and Pavia.

From the Presidential chopper to be flown by Major Nelson Morales and Capt. Ignacio Ozar, President Arroyo shall see the wreckage of several bridges rendered impassable by Frank, including the President’s Bridge in Alimodian, and the Imelda Marcos Bridge in Cabatuan.

With the Imelda Marcos Bridge cut in half and the other half now submerged, this city and the surrounding towns have no potable/pipe water. This because the main pipe of the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD), which used to cross over the bridge, went down with the now-destroyed bridge portion.

A flight simulation conducted this afternoon by the Presidential Airlift Wing (PAW) with Presidential Assistant for Region VI Dr. Raul Banas, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) regional team leader Ruby Plagata and the Presidential News Desk (PND) on board also showed several areas still mired in mud a week after the unexpected flooding of a wide area along the banks of the then swollen Iloilo River.

The regional office of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here revealed that a total of 254 millimeters of rainfall fell on Iloilo that weekend as compared to the normal monthly mean of 190 millimeters of rainfall in the area over a 24-hour period.

The DENR added that a 1.8-meter high tide -- compounded by the fact that Iloilo only has 16 percent “watershed vegetation” – caused the flash flood that will go down as the worst flood ever in Iloilo’s recent history.

As of yesterday, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) for Western Visayas said a total 322 people died, 288 went missing, and 723 people were injured due to the strong rains and wind spawned by the super typhoon which caught residents unawares.

A total of P1.4 billion worth of agricultural produce were also laid to waste, while P1.5 billion worth of government infrastructure was destroyed, aside from P235 million worth of damage to private property in the region which covers Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City and Iloilo City.

Barangay information centers create ripples

OP Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Alimodian , Iloilo (12 July) -- Political controversies were raging. The national leadership was shaking. The Filipino people were holding their breath for the next events to unfold on that Friday in history, July 8, 2005.

Far up in the quiet town of Alimodian on that day, the members of the Barangay Information Centers (BICs) in the Tigum-Aganan Watershed Area, were showing strength as they rallied behind the implementation of the Clean Water Act by holding the 3rd BIC Congress, a showcase of community-based information, education and communication efforts in the countrysides.

The BIC Congress was a major activity of the Tigum-Aganan Watershed Management Board (TAWMB) as a pilot-testing area for the implementation of the Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) in the country.

Alimodian Mayor Juanito Alipao, TAWMB Chair and host of the congress, said that the 3rd BIC Congress is a gathering of people, local leaders, government officials, people's organizations and non-government entities who have bonded together to call attention to the unprotected state of the environment.

The congress shows people's initiatives in effective Solid Waste Management Program, Riverbank Rehabilitation, Integrated Pest Management, Biodiversity, safe agricultural technologies, and many more.

The 8 municipalities, namely Alimodian, Oton, San Miguel, Leon, Sta. Barbara, Maasin, Pavia and Cabatuan and the city of Iloilo put up their particular exhibits and displays on their initiatives for the protection and rehabilitation of the environment.

A major resolution agreed to be drafted and consequently adopted in the next regular TAWMB meeting is the motion presented by Bgy. Captain Garcia of Cagbang, Cabatuan, for the adoption of the MASIPAG technology or organic farming in the TAWMB municipalities.

A highlight of the BIC Congress was the signing by the TAWMB Technical Working Group members for and in behalf of their Mayors, the approved WQMA Plan and the Memo of Agreement for the implementation of activities targeted by their local government units.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Valentin Talabero told the BIC Congress delegates that they should put into effect the WQMA plan that they have approved and fully document success stories which now abound in the experiences and activities of the BICs.

The BICs are the community counterparts of the "Ugat sang Tubig" Program, school-on-air, which is heard over Aksyon Radyo on Sundays, 11:45-12:30 p.m., anchored by Kahublagan sang Panimalay Foundation and the Philippine Information Agency 6. It is the BICs that are expected to give "life" to the implementation of the Water Quality Management Area. (PIA-6)

People urge FG to reconsider charity project’s termination
Monday, 16 May 2005

MANILA, May 16 (PNA) – First Gentleman Jose Miguel T. Arroyo has received a deluge of calls and petitions from various sectors to reconsider his decision stopping all his charity work for the poor.

In unison, they urged the beleaguered First Gentleman to continue his projects, particularly his medical assistance to indigent patients, especially those with life-threatening diseases that need immediate hospitalization.

Other sectors also asked the First Gentleman to pursue his noble project of helping the country's sports development.

The callers and letter writers have the the observation earlier aired by some prominent personalities that the greatest losers in Mr. Arroyo’s announcement to cancel all his charity projects are the poor.

One of those who wrote Mr. Arroyo was Dr. Benjamin Abela of the Makati Medical Center, who also heads the First Gentleman’s cataract team under his “Bagong Mata Para sa May Katarata” project.

Abela labeled as unfortunate and unfair the recent published reports that the First Gentleman is using his projects, particularly the free dentures program benefiting soldiers and policemen, allegedly to check on the loyalty of the military and the police and for other political reasons.

Abela’s service to Mr. Arroyo’s free cataract medical mission is pro bono or free of charge.

”I didn’t see the press writing the story of that mother in Agusan who was afflicted with cataract but became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl whom she nourished while blind and, last year, after 13 years, through FG’s cataract team’s effort, was able to see again. And amidst tearful reunion, finally saw her daughter’s face for the very first time,” Abela noted.

”Or about the three boys with ages 9, 10, and 11 from Bohol who had developmental cataracts and, after surgery, can now see, and finally learn to read and write. Those are the stories the press needs to print and make the public aware,” the eye expert added.

The First Gentleman’s free cataract mission in Agusan del Sur was conducted from October 27-30, 2004 at the D.O Plaza Memorial Hospital in the province with more than 120 poor patients as beneficiaries, including Marina Sanchez, 58, the blind mother.

Abela pointed out that to his knowledge there never were “loyalty checks, just pure sympathy and compassion.”

PGH medical director, Dr. Carmelo Alfiler, for his part, had asked the First Gentleman to continue his noteworthy and very noble advocacy projects “that have immeasurably benefited many indigent patients and low-salaried workers in PGH.”

The projects, Alfiler said, include the Diosdado Macapagal Stroke Unit of the Department of Neurosciences, the hydrocephalus and miningocoele mission, the “Bagong Bata, Bagong Buhay” kidney transplant project, the cancer chemotherapy fund, and the “Bagong Ngiti sa Dating Ngebu’ free dentures project.

The Diosdadao Macapagal Stroke Unit is pioneering service and training area for stroke victims, the hydrocephalus and meningcoele mission has so far assisted 47 infants, children and adults from all over the country; the charity kidney transplant project currently has 32 indigent patients already lined up; the cancer chemotheraphy fund has increasingly been accessed by pediatrics and adult cancer patients; and the free dentures project has benefited PGH’s low salaried nursing attendants and utility workers.

Like Abela, Alfiler said he saw no political statements made by the service projects and their feedback, inside and outside the PGH, has been “extremely positive.”

Dr. George Acepcion, chief of the Ramon Tabiana Memorial Hospital in Cabatuan, Iloilo, told the First Gentleman in a message that the many cataract patients in his province would have gone blind if not for his mission. He said there are more such patients expecting his help.

”It is fitting and proper to say that only through this activity (cataract mission), many of our people could enjoy the beauty and completeness of life by regaining their lost eye vision,” Acepcion said.

The First Gentleman’s cataract medical mission conducted three times in Iloilo, twice in Cabatuan town and once at the Benito Lopez Memorial Hospital in Iloilo City. (PNA)

PGMA's priority road project in Iloilo to be completed by yearend
Tuesday, 28 July 2009

OTON, Iloilo (PND) - The Ilonggos will soon enjoy a new road infrastructure as one of the priority projects of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Iloilo is expected to be completed by yearend.

Department of Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Rafael Yabut informed President Arroyo today that the Oton-Mambog road project will be finished by December this year, citing the prompt progress in the completion of the infrastructure plan.

Yabut made the presentation in front of President Arroyo and hundreds of Oton residents at the Oton-Mambog road site. Residents here patiently waited for the arrival of the President and hear the latest development in the infrastructure project.

The President told the crowd that they should expect a "happy new year" due to the completion of the new road. Speaking in Ilonggo, the President expressed hope that the new infrastructure will improve the lives of the Oton residents.

They showed the President their appreciation by putting up banners and streamers thanking the President for the infrastructure and education programs she put up in the province.

The construction of the road project began on July 23 last year with the President closely monitoring the development that aims to uplift the social and economic conditions of the local residents.

The road project, which is already 97 percent complete, is part of the vital link from the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan town to Oton.

The total link of the of Oton-Mambog-Caboloan-Abilay-San Jose-San Miguel road leading to Iloilo Airport is 7.5089 kilometers. The concreting of the 2.218 kilometer road in Oton with an appropriation of P30 million is ready for implementation.

The Oton-Mambog road project is one of the numerous infrastructures implemented by the national government in Iloilo. (PND)

Repair, rehab of typhoon-damaged infra ongoing
Monday, 14 July 2008

Iloilo City -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 6 had already completed the immediate repair of four of 11 bridges which were totally damaged by typhoon Frank, located in Magapa, Janiuay, Pajo and Ulian in Lambunao, and the Kantil Box culvert in Badiangan, all in the province of Iloilo, with an estimated cost of P248, 500,000.

This amount also covers the on-going repair being done in other areas, which include the installation of bailey bridges in Tigum Bridge in Cabatuan, Imelda Marcos brideg in Maasin, Valderrrama Bridge in Antique, and the Bugo Bridge in San Remegio, Antique.

It likewise includes improvement of alternate routes, and on-going restoration of approaches in Baltazar Aquino Bridge, Leon, Nichols Bridge in Alimodian, and Camanggahan Bridge, Guimbal, with all cut bridges provided with footbridge for human passage.

In his report, DPWH Dir. Rolando Asis said all bridges with damaged approaches have been made passable even as on-going repairs of protection works or approaches are still being done, with an estimated cost of P30,905,000.

As to road networks, Asis reported that they have made all road sections with slides and cuts passable even as repairs are still going on, which include the Cross Drainage eroded in Barotac Nuevo, completed as of July 6, and the Iloilo-Capiz Road, new route Pototan section which opened July 7. The repair involved a cost estimate of P79, 806,000.

Meanwhile, all the flooded portions of the roads in Iloilo City are now made passable as repairs are being undertaken, mud and spoils removed.

As of press time, DPWH said that mud and debris have been removed from five main roads in Kalibo, with on-going mopping operations and clearing activities in the minor streets of the town. (DPWH/PIA 6)