by: Flor Jackson
Naval, Biliran (April 16) – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited the municipality of Naval, the capital town of the province of Biliran to unveil the marker of the newly completed Naval Port Development Project.
The President, accompanied by Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Leandro Mendoza and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Arthur Favila arrived at the Naval Institute of Technology (NIT) landing field via helicopter at 3:10 in the afternoon yesterday (April 15) and was warmly welcomed by Congressman Glenn Chong of the lone district of Biliran; Governor Rogelio Espina; NIT President Edita Genson; Col. Leonardo Cesneros, Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Director of Biliran and Major General Arthur Tabaquero, Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.
The Presidential entourage immediately motored to the Naval Port passing through the thickly-lined crowd along Padre Inocentes Garcia Street .
She was delighted and all smiles to see a throng of people at the gate of the port continuosly waving their hands and saying “Mabuhay si Presidente Gloria”.
Upon arrival at the Naval Port compound, the President and her entourage were warmly received by Engr. Dominador Licayan, Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) – Port of Naval and Ormoc City and the local officials of Naval led by Vice Mayor Vicente Curso.
After what it seems like a never-ending handshakes of the President with the local officials, guests, the Navalenos and the Biliranons, the unveiling ceremony of the marker of the newly completed Naval Port Development Project immediately followed.
President Arroyo led in the unveiling of the marker and she was assited by DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Congressman Glenn Chong, Governor Rogelio Espina and Naval Mayor Vicente Curso.
Immediately after the unveiling ceremony, the President proceeded to the ramp of the port to send off MV Hansel Jobett, a roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) ship of the Santo Clara Shipping Company in its ceremonial trip to Cataingan in the province of Masbate passing through the island town of Maripipi as there were bus passengers who will disembark in the port of said town.
MV Hansel Jobett ferried two big buses namely Eagle Star and Silver Star with passengers bound for Manila .
After the send-off ceremony, the President went back to the Naval Port Passenger Terminal to take her snacks and for a very brief meeting with Congressman Chong, Governor Espina and other local officials at the holding room.
The President also had a photo opportunity with the teachers of the Department of Education (DepEd) led by Dr. Sara Apurillo, Schools Division Superintendent of Biliran, local officials and other guests.
President Arroyo and her party left for Tacloban at the NIT landing field via chopper at exactly 4:20 in the afternoon.
Congressman Chong, Governor Espina, Dr. Edita Genson, NIT President and other local officials and guests were at the landing field to see her off.
The completion and inauguration of the Naval Port Development Project would see a boost in the economic activity and tourism in the capital town of Naval in Biliran Province and will strengthen the links between the provinces of Masbate, Leyte, Cebua, Samar , Surigao and to other Strong Republic Nautical Highway Eastern Seaboard.
The project, according to Engr. Dominador Licayan, Port Manager of Ormoc and Naval, has three components which included the provision of a passenger terminal building, the rehabilitation of the reinforced cemented pier and the construction of the RoRo ramp.
The implementing agency of the project is the Philippine Ports Authority.
The inauguration ceremonies were also attended by Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Assistant Secretary Edgar Igano, Land Transportation Tranchising and Regulatory Board, Region 7 Director Romulo Bernanrdes, eight mayors of the province of Biliran, 132 barangay captains of the province, heads of national government agencies, officials of the local government unit of Naval town and the provincial officials of Biliran. (PIA-Biliran)