CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – City Council officials here initiated talks with the Pampanga Provincial Board (PB) on Monday to discuss legislative measures seen to benefit the city and the province.

In a courtesy call on Monday, Vice-Mayor Edwin Santiago and Councilors Alex Patio, Rose Calimlim, Jimmy Lazatin, Ruping Dumlao, Reden Halili, Noel Tulabut, Lito Ocampo, Dein Henson, Ato Agustin and Melchor Calauag said the main objective of the visit was to coordinate with the PB and the administration of Governor Lilia Pineda.

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“We wanted to express our desire to work hand in hand with the PB on projects and programs extending out of our political jurisdiction. An example is the approved construction of parallel service roads near the North Luzon Expressway and the Sagip Ilog project, which are two very encompassing and major projects of the city,” said Santiago.

Conditions at the Capitol are “very conducive” with the tandem of Pineda and Vice Governor Joseller Guiao, said Santiago.

Guiao welcomed the move of last year’s most outstanding city council and said that a joint meeting will be held immediately where the two groups could coordinate their efforts.

Initial talks were forged between parallel service roads proponent and ordinance author Councilor Alex Patio and PB’s committee on public works chairman Ricardo Yabut of the fourth district and first district Board Member Tarcicio Halili.

The parallel service roads start from San Simon town in the Fourth District and ends in the fringes of Angeles City with future extensions in the boundaries of Mabalacat in the first district.

Yabut said to fast track the creation of the service roads, he would immediately request the Department of Public Works and Highways through his brother Undersecretary Rafael Yabut to conduct an inspection of the site and identify the number of bridges and extent of works of the project, adding the first of the series of talks would be held this week.

Halili, for his part said that he would immediately incorporate his proposed bicycle and motorcycle lanes into the service roads project to decongest MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road). His safety proposal he said, would be apt in the service roads that will serve as an alternative route, especially now that MacArthur Highway is being expanded.

A beaming Patio expressed his optimism on the talks and said: “It will greatly relieve traffic at MacArthur Highway. Most important, if this shared vision is realized, developments would eventually flow out to the south and north of the province as we expect an industrial and real estate boom.” (Jovi T. De Leon)