Bridges to Connect Visayan Islands Eyed RDCs in Visayas Rally Behind NIR

Governors in the Visayas want a comprehensive study for the possible construction of bridges that will connect the Visayan islands.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominic Petilla, chair of the Visayas Regional Development Committee (RDC) yesterday said the study will determine the viability of connecting the different islands in the Visayas through construction of bridges.

ONE VISAYAS. Governors Roel Degamo, Negros Oriental; Alfredo Maranon, Jr., Negros Occidental; Visayas RDCom chairman Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, Leyte; and Edgar Chatto Bohol, in an “all for one, one for all” sign in relation to the “One Visayas” battlecry of regions in central Philippines.*

FORMER BACIWA GM. Former Bacolod City Water District (BACIWA) General Manager Juliana Tan, left, was acquitted of Malversation of Public Funds charges by the Sandiganbayan. Tghe court noted that Tan was singled out from among water district officers in the filing of charges. Tan, interviewed here by NDB editor Arman Toga (on August 7, 2015), said she expected the favorable decision “being on the side of truth”. With the Sandiganbayan decision, Baciwa is obligated to release the funds due to her, she said.* (Northwestman photo)

Petilla cited for instance connecting Dumaguete to Cebu, Cebu and Bohol, and the proposed Negros-Guimaras bridge.

The study is also directed at addressing the growing port congestion in the Visayas.

The bridge study was among the major concerns discussed during yesterday’s 2nd RDCom Visayas meeting attended by Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto and Region-6 RDC vice chairperson, NEDA regional director Ro-ann Bacal.

Bacal said the study will be conducted through a grant from Korean Exim Bank and will be a comprehensive study to identify the bridges and will determine the possible number of bridges that will be constructed, its viability and feasibility.

“It is a grant,” she added.

“In fact, we have previously requested DPWH to resurrect all the previous study of bridges in the Visayas,” Bacal said.

She also explained that usually they approved the funds that government will prepare the TOR and then contract out the study that means there is a procurement process.

‘We are looking at the Eastern, Western Central Visayas and of course the NIR,” Bacal said.

She said the study will focus on the connectivity of the Visayas through bridges.

SUPPORTING NIR EFFORTS. Meanwhile, the chairmen of the Regional Development Councils (RDC) of Regions 7 and 8 expressed support for the newly-created Negros Island Region (NIR), during the 2nd Visayan Regional Development Committee meeting yesterday in Bacolod City.

RDCom chair Dominico Leopoldo Petilla, governor of Leyte said that “Negros island (region) is good for the whole Visayas.”

“We believe that the creation of the NIR will bring more progress but also to the rest of the Visayas, “ Petilla said.

He said the national government will “use the same formula in determining the budget for local government such as population and land area.”

“NIR will get a fair share of the budget,” he added.

The RDComm passed three resolutions, requesting President Benigno Aquino III through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to include un-programmed funds of the national budget to be allocated for the NIR, requesting the DBM to hasten the requirements for funding the NIR and the appointment of a transition NIR RDC chair.

The governors also discussed the Visayan Development Plan.

Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto, who chairs RDC Region 7 also expressed the same for the NIR.

“It was a mixed feeling to lose one member of the family. But, looking at the future of Negros island, we share the view that it’s going to be a more progressive island and the benefit will definitely redound to the people,” Chatto said.

There will be birth pains along the way especially during the transition period, he pointed out.

“We wish the new region the best. This is an act of self-determination. The island is determining what is best for them and what is best for the people; and its bigger role in contributing to the whole Visayas and the country’s growth. It will also be a major player in national development,” Chatto said.

For his part, Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo thanked the other Visayas Governor for all the support for NIR.

“Rest assured of the full cooperation of Negros Oriental in the final drafting of the implementing rules and regulations of the NIR. We want to ensure that my province is protected,” Degamo said.

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., also thanked the support.

“Hopefully, more support is coming,” Marañon said.*