CANDON CITY— President Rodrigo Roa Duterte inaugurated Thursday the P717.6 million Candon City Bypass Road project aimed at decongesting Candon City’s commercial center and propping up economic activity in the region.
In his speech, President Duterte said he is pleased to join the people of Candon City for Thursday’s inauguration, saying the project is an important component of the government’s comprehensive infrastructure development program.
“Let me acknowledge the efforts of the Department of Public Works and Highways for the successful completion of this 7-kilometer bypass road,” he said.
“I also thank the local government of Candon and the surrounding towns for their steadfast support for this project.”
The project emphasizes the importance of infrastructure interconnectivity in the overall development of the country, the President noted, adding this is the reason the government continues to heavily invest in the Build, Build, Build Program to enhance connectivity and improve people’s lives.
Project proponents envisioned the bypass road project to promote economic activity and enhance mobility in the urban and rural areas of Ilocos Sur and its neighboring provinces.
It will decongest traffic along the section of the Manila North Road that traverses Candon City, benefiting traders and motorists from Ilocos Norte and Abra.
With its completion, travel time will be reduced from 40 minutes to 20 minutes from Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur to Santiago, Ilocos Sur. It is expected to benefit 13,061 motorists every day.
Works for the bypass road started in 2015 by the DPWH including the construction of the 30-lineal meter four-lane Oaig Daya Bridge. The project was funded by DPWH’s budget including the payment for the right of way.
Bounty for NPA leader
Meanwhile, President Duterte announced during the event that he was raising the reward money for the capture of the leader of those responsible for the killing of four police officers in Negros Oriental from P2 million to P3 million.
The President initially said that he put up P1-million bounty for the rebel leader, which he eventually raised to P2 million during a meeting with local executives in Manila this week.
“I raised the first one million. Then, the other night, I was before the governors and mayors, I said, ‘I’m raising it…two million.’ Now nandito ako, I’m raising it to three million,” he said during Thursday’s event. “It will keep on increasing and the pressure that goes with it.”
The four policemen were intelligence personnel from the 704th Mobile Force Company Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Central Visayas.
Initial reports said they were verifying the reported presence of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Bgy. Mabato in Ayungon town when they were attacked.
The slain policemen were posthumously awarded by the President with the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kalasag in Negros Oriental over the weekend.
The President also mentioned the current martial law in Mindanao, saying the region continues to be a concern for his administration. While he is not advocating for the continuous imposition of the martial rule, he said he would heed the call of the local leaders in the region.
“But if the local government units…the governors, mayors, and even congressmen would find it that it would be to the best interest of the Filipino in Mindanao, I would not hesitate to say yes,” he said.
At the same time, the President supported the proposal of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to impose capital punishment against plunderers. Illegally amassing P50 million and above must be considered a capital offense, he said.
“Death penalty for plunder at saka drugs. I am for it,” he said. PND