GMA "goodbye" visit set
Outgoing President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo who will be winding her last few weeks as the nation's chief executive will be making her last official visit to the province next week.
Bohol, which is known as an Arroyo province, not until the May elections, is one of the top beneficiary provinces of the developmental projects funded by the Arroyo administration.
Mrs. Arroyo will be making her "good-bye" on Thursday next week during the inauguration of the P500-million port expansion project in Ubay town, the hometown of outgoing Gov. Erico Aumentado.
Bohol could be recorded as one of the provinces where Pres. Arroyo visited the most especially during her last term as chief executive.
Her love for Bohol was evident on the several occasions where she stayed overnight at the various resorts in Panglao, notably Bohol Beach Club, Amorita, Panglao Island Nature Resort and the recently closed Alona Palm.
The President twice brought her Cabinet to Amorita (the former Crystal Coast Resort), acquired by the Victory Liner group from the family of the late businessman Nanong Lim, the owner of Hotel La Roca and Crystal Coast Resort.The visit of the President will come while Boholanos will be asking her on what happen to the much publicized Panglao Bohol International Airport which she originally set for completion this year.
Gov. Erico Aumentado who earlier expressed optimism for the airport project now seems to admit that the project's chances for realization is deem and remote since the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) failed to award the project to the winning bidder.
The President's entourage will include Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Oscar Sevilla, Assistant Manager for Operations Raul Santos, and Acting Port District Manager for the Visayas Alex Cruz.As a strong ally, outgoing Gov. Aumentado rarely had an invitation turned down by the President including the slated inauguration of Ubay port expansion which is one of the 17 ports identified as priority out of 28 projects under the Strong Republic Nautical Highway program, a landmark accomplishment of the Arroyo administration.
The old Ubay port, which has been Bohol's roll on-roll off gateway to Manila and Mindanao, can now accommodate bigger cargo ships in addition to the usual passenger ships with its expansion to 3.5 hectares after the completion of the project's phases 1 and 2 that covers the widening of the causeway and construction of a roll on-roll off ramp.
It used to be just 3,726 square meters including the causeway that used to be just 496.85 meters long and 7.5 meters wide that connects it to the main road.
Even prior to its expansion, Ubay port has already been serving as "Bohol's principal gateway to Leyte, Samar; which is connected by barge to Matnog in Sorsogon and eventually on to Manila and vice versa".
Philtranco, Megastar, and BolaÃ±os Bus lines are serving the Manila-Bohol route with at least two trips a day.
The port has also been the gateway to Mindano via Southern Leyte through "barge from Ubay to Southern Leyte then barge again to Surigao del Norte and then land trip to all points of Mindanao".
It also accommodates four vessels plying the Cebu-Bohol route daily.
The improvement of Ubay port will cater to the expected influx of cargo and passengers as Aumentado, who starts his come-back stint to Congress in July, has prepared a bill proposing Ubay to be declared a Science City- -the second after MuÃ±oz in Nueva Ecija and the first in the Visayas.
The port will also complement the Ubay domestic airport, presently categorized as feeder airport, that Aumentado also eyes for improvement to become a real operational airport that will accommodate domestic aircrafts and training aircrafts of aeronautic schools.
After completing the civil works in Ubay port, Sevilla and the other PPA officials moved on to the groundbreaking ceremony last Friday for the P38-million Loay Commercial Port back-up area.
The expansion project will set Loay port as another roro connection of Bohol and Mindanao, in addition to Jagna port and the recently improved Ubay port. (Angeline Valencia)