DOT-DPWH Tourism Road Projects-A A +A
As I See It
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
“CAN we have good projects in Western Visayas without the pork?” I asked this question to Atty. Helen J. Catalbas, regional director of the Department of Tourism in Region VI (Western Visayas) during our recent meeting with the other tourism officers of Negros Occidental. She enthusiastically answered, “Yes, our DOT-DPWH tourism road projects did not come from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Director Catalbas here is referring to her Tourism Strategic Direction No. 2: Access and Connectivity. History can attest in the realization of this project. As tourism officer of Silay City, I have been pushing in all meetings of the Regional Development Council that the access road to Patag be funded. I have attended more than five important cluster conferences and I sound like a broken record. I have been doing it for almost ten years starting from the time of Mayor Edwin Velez. The access road is vital in the implementation of Patag Master Development Plan prepared by Architect Juliet Gaston Patosa during that time.
Sometime in 2011, Christine Mansinares, the provincial tourism officer, told me, “Sir Ver, let us push again your Patag access road. I am giving you a form, present it to Mayor Jose Montelibano and let your City Engineer’s Office or City Planning Office make an endorsement. I will make a follow up with the Governor’s Office and we will send it to the DOT Regional Office for the certification of the DOT regional director for its tourism significance. Your congressman will make a follow-up for the release of fund at DBM, and DPWH will implement the project.”
It is a long process. I did it in the past already several times. I do not want that this will be again an exercise in futility. I did not believe it but I did it again. DOT Director Catalbas wanted to prove something–dreams with hard work can be reality. Before the end of 2011, Cristine Mansinares showed me the list and access road to Patag is listed as number one priority project. I smiled. I did not believe what I saw. When the project was implemented in 2012, I thought I was dreaming. Thank you, Dir. Catalbas!
Here is the list of projects and the amount/s for Negros Occidental (not from pork barrel): 2012-Access Road to Patag Valley (100,000,000); Widening of Bacolod City Boundary Road (100,000,000). 2013-Bacolod-Murcia-Don Salvador Benidicto-San Carlos City Road (50,000,000); Silay-Lantawan-Patag Road (100,000,000); Access Road to Mambukal Resort, Murcia (25,000,000); Access Road to Gawahon Resort, Victorias City (25,000,000); Access Road to Patag Valley, Silay City (100,000,000); Access Road to the Ruins, Talisay City (40,000,000); Punta-Taytay, Bacolod City (50,000,000); Bacolod City Boundary Road, Bacolod City (25,000,000).
Atty. Catalbas added that the following are the proposed projects for 2014: Road upgrading in Sitio Binaldan, Brgy. Biao, Binalbagan; Concreting of Access Road to Mag-aso Falls; Road Upgrading in Mangrove Ecopark and Wildlife Sanctuary, Naduswang Island, Barangay Canmoros, Binalbagan; and Construction of Spillways and Water Landing Bern and Campsite. Tourism Updates for the Province of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City of DOT Director Catalbas stated that these projects are not part of the pork barrel of the senators and congressmen.
The good director is also thanking the congressmen involved because they are very active in making follow-ups at DBM and other agencies working for the projects. The mayors and tourism officers in Western Visayas are encouraged for the punctual and accurate submission of tourist arrivals. If a town or city has a good number of tourists coming, then the request for more tourism projects could be justified.
Here in Negros Occidental, we aspire for sustained air routes and develop new ones. We hope that the airport in Silay will soon become an international airport and probably we can have new airports in Kabankalan, Sipalay and San Carlos. We look forward also to start cruise routes in Western Visayas. Let us now start working together without the pork.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 03, 2013.