Cebu, Davao most frequently visited provinces of Aquino

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Thursday, February 21, 2013


THE provinces of Cebu and Davao are some of the most frequently visited places of President Benigno Aquino III since he assumed office in June 2010.

Almost halfway through his six-year term, President Aquino, so far, visited Cebu six times while he went to Davao four times. Most of his trips were working visits.

The President first visited Cebu in September 2010 when he met with hundreds of business leaders during the Regional Economic Managers’ Briefing and Dialogue.

Aquino pledged to provide infrastructure and social projects for the continued improvement of the province, including the development of Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

The business leaders asked the administration to study ways on how to enhance the tourism industry in Central Visayas and address high fuel and power costs.

Among the proposed projects include the establishment of mass transit system, the modernization of Panglao International Airport and building of bridge that will link the provinces of Cebu and Bohol.

The Chief Executive went back to Cebu in November 2010 to grace the naming of a new ship and opening of a new hotel.

During his first two visits to the province, the President was welcomed by Vice Governor Greg Sanchez Jr.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, a known ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, flew to Vietnam to attend the East Asia Tourism Forum (Eatof) during Aquino’s first working visit to Cebu.

On May 5, 2011, President Aquino went back to Cebu to visit the wake of Sanchez, who succumbed to lung cancer.

Sanchez was the one who filed administrative charges against Garcia for allegedly diverting the provinces’ budget for allegedly anomalous contracts. Garcia was then found guilty of grave abuse of authority and has been suspended for six months by the Malacanang.

The lady governor refused to leave the Provincial Capitol and accused the Liberal Party (LP) of politically harassing her to further its chances in the May 2013 elections.

LP chairman President Aquino, himself, answered the allegations of Garcia, during his visit to Cebu in January 16, 2013, saying the suspension was not meant to harass the governor for being an ally of the opposition party – United Nationalist Alliance led by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The Chief Executive stressed that the suspension followed due process. He also did not bother to appeal to Garcia to leave her office for as long as government services to the people are not disrupted.

Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, sister of Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, was named as acting governor.

In the same visit, President Aquino introduced the LP senatorial slate to the people of Cebu. He accompanied the LP candidates in the Mandaue City Sports Complex.

Two months earlier, the President dismissed that Cebu province will be a free zone during his meeting with LP stalwarts and allies in the province.

He said the national party would only be supporting their candidates, adding they have enough funds for their operations.

Hilario “Junjun” Davide III, son and namesake of a former Supreme Court Chief Justice, is LP’s gubernatorial candidate in Cebu. He ran in the same position in 2010, but he lost to then re-electionist Gwen Garcia.

Davide will run against incumbent Cebu third district Rep Pablo John Garcia, younger brother of Gwen. Pablo John is with the National Unity Party, a breakaway of Gloria Arroyo’s Lakas-Kampi that has since supported the LP.

President Aquino also attended the inauguration of an Australian shipbuilding firm in the West Cebu Industrial Park in Balamban, Cebu on January 16, 2013.

Other trips of the President in Cebu include his attendance at the 17th World Electronics Forum (WEF) in April 2012 and the national thanksgiving mass for Blessed Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino saint, in November 2012.

Aside from Cebu, President Aquino’s favorite area to visit is Davao.

He visited the province four times since he became President.

The first was in September 14, 2010, when he visited Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, one of the first beneficiaries of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services: Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (Kalahi-Cidss: KKB).

He held consultation-dialogue with over 3,000 beneficiaries of Kalahi Cidss, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) in the province.

Before September ends, the President went back to Davao for the Regional Economic Manager’s Briefing, where he assured business groups of his priority concern in alleviating poverty through the Public-Private Partnership program and Kakahi-Cidss.

He also expressed support for the mining and development of banana industry in the region. He likewise pledged support for the proposed open sky policy.

The President then went back to Davao region after two years when Typhoon Pablo hit Compostella Valley and Davao Oriental, where at least 500 people died.

He led the distribution of relief goods and gave monetary assistance to typhoon victims.

Environment advocates in Davao region have urged President Aquino to put a stop to all mining operations in Mindanao following the devastation wrought by Typhoon Pablo.

The most recent visit of the President in Davao was in February 5, 2013 when he keynoted the Philippine Development Forum.

Aquino also went to Cagayan de Oro City in January 2012, when another deadly Tropical Storm Sendong ravaged the province. He also visited Iligan City where he inspected relocation sites for the victims of typhoon.

The President also visited the provinces of Baguio and Zamboanga.

He went to the City of Pines thrice: first was in November 2010, when he led the opening of the 700th outlet of Jollibee in Harrison Road.

He also led the oath-taking ceremonies of several elected barangay officials.

He likewise led the switching-on of the energy efficient lighting system in Burnham Park, which is funded by the Asian Development Bank and Department of Energy’s Philippine Energy Efficient Project.

Baguio City has also been the favorite place of the President to spend Christmas Day.

The President was also able to touch base with the people of Zamboanga and Iloilo where he keynoted a forum organized by the Ateneo de Zamboanga University in celebration of its Centenary year and distribution of cash grants to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and PhilHealth cards among service volunteers in Iloilo province, respectively.

The Chief Executive also inaugurated the 264-megawatt coal-fired power plant of the Panay Energy Development Corporation (PDEC) in La Paz, Iloilo City. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

Local news

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