Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, newly appointed Bicol RDC Chairman, called for a special full council meeting on February 7 at NEDA Region 5, Arimbay, LegazpiCity. The Council discussed the proposed strategic infrastructure projects that will enhance Bicol Region’s connectivity and reduce travel time to central and north Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions. These infra projects include the Matnog, Sorsogon-Samar Island Bridge Project, the North-South Railway Project (NSRP), and the Quezon-Bicol Expressway.
Albay Governor and RDC V Chair Al Francis Bichara presides over the meeting. With him from L-R: DSWD 5 RD and SDC Chairperson Arnel B. Garcia, Ms. Jasmin C. Zantua, Acting RDC Secretary, RDC Chairperson Al Francis Bichara, NEDA 5 RD and RDC Vice Chairperson, Agnes M. Espinas and DTI 5 RD and EDC Chairperson Jocelyn Lb. Blanco
The Matnog, Sorsogon-Samar Island Bridge Project will connect Matnog, Sorsogon to Allen, Samar through four bridges linking the Culasi and Calintaan islands of Matnog, Sorsogon to the Capul and Dalupirit islands of Northern Samar. Sorsogon Governor Robert Rodrigueza expressed full support to the project, saying it will boost trade, tourism, and job creation, aside from reducing travel time by eliminating the waiting and loading time at the Matnog and Allen ports. The NSRP will facilitate mobility of people and goods between north and south Luzon and to the Visayas. It will carry containers of goods, thus “taking the trucks off Bicol highways and minimizing damage and maintenance costs of these highways”, according to RDC Chairman Bichara. The Quezon-Bicol Expressway will be a faster alternative route from South Luzon to Bicol and will promote redundancy, a key strategy in the Luzon Spatial Development Framework 2015-2045. Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal pushed for the construction of a new expressway to the National Capital Region as an alternative to the South Luzon Expressway. Governor Rodrigueza proposed the development of the Bacon airport to a community airport. The projects were referred to the Infrastucture Development Committee for detailed study and appropriate action.
Gov. Robert Lee Rodrigueza proposes the development of the Bacon airport into a community airport
RDC Chairman Bichara encouraged the other governors and mayors to submit additional project proposals for inclusion in the regional development investment plan and agency budgets. Other governors and mayors present were Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua, Ligao City Mayor Patricia Gonzales-Alzua, Tabaco City Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro, Masbate City Mayor Rowena Tuason, and Aroroy, Masbate Mayor Arturo Virtucio.
Masbate LMP President Mayor Arturo Virtucio raises a concern on the cease and desist order issued by MGB on the operation of small-scale mining in the region
Other concerns discussed in the meeting were the small scale mining operations in the region, the release of fund for the rehabilitation of damages due to Typhoon Nina, and the soil erosion at Mt.Asog in IrigaCity due to Typhoon Nina.
RDC members sign the Ambisyon Natin 2040 pledge wall after the meeting
MTB Añonuevo – DRD NEDA 5