Apayao residents grateful for President Aquino’s visit

By Leilanie G. Adriano

LUNA, Apayao, Sept. 23 (PNA) — For the first time, a Philippine president visited Luna town in Apayao province.

With a grateful heart, Apayao townsfolk led by Governor Elias Bulut Jr. and Luna Mayor Josephine Bangsil welcomed President Benigno Aquino III at the Luna gymnasium on Wednesday.

Cheers and applause welcomed the President upon his arrival around 10:35 a.m. at the Bienvenido G. Verzola Jr. Memorial Sports Complex in Luna.

Around 5,000 local residents and officials from the seven municipalities of Apayao including employees of various national government line agencies and representatives of public and private organizations were present to see the Chief Executive.

According to the governor, the Aquino Administration poured in funds to develop the largest and youngest province in the Cordilleras particularly for the development of infrastructure and the social services despite Apayao not being a vote-rich province. Admittedly, Bulut said the province’s top officials did not endorse Mr. Aquino’s candidacy during the last election.

But the President said in his speech, “Nang ako ay naging pangulo, ibinoto man ako o hindi ay walang maiiwan. Dahil kayo ang boss ko.”

Mayor Bangsil, on the other hand, said: “In a span of five years, it was only during President Aquino’s term that we felt the essence of progress or inclusive growth”.

With the outpouring of multi-billion-peso worth of infrastructure projects that connect Apayao to its neighboring provinces, Governor Bulut said that they are now ready to make a big leap and compete with other progressive provinces in the country.

On board a chopper, President Aquino and members of his Cabinet led by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janet Garin, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Manuel Mamba and Governor Bulut conducted aerial inspection of the Kabugao-Calanasan-Solsona, Ilocos Norte road and Kabugao-Pudtol-Luna-Cagayan boundary road.

After inspection, the President’s group touched down at the Payanan, Apayao Eco-Tourism Sports Complex and went on a convoy to the Far North Hospital to check on the health facility.

Secretary Singson held a briefing on other government infrastructure projects including the DPWH-DOT Convergence Projects, hospital facilities, school buildings, and the ongoing construction of the road network that will link the province of Apayao to the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan through the Ilocos Norte-Apayao-Cagayan road.

It can be recalled that Apayao was highlighted by the President in his last State of the Nation Address in July as he reported about the infrastructure projects being implemented by the national government in the province.(PNA)