Joey A. Gabieta
Leyte Samar Daily Express

Part of a plan to make Biliran center of trade and commerce

NAVAL, Biliran- Rep. Rogelio Espina is planning to open an access connecting his province to Samar province by putting up a Roro (roll on-roll off) port.

Espina, who is running for governor in this summer midterm elections, said that connecting the two provinces will both benefit the two areas.

For one, he said, agriculture produce of his province can be transported and sold in Samar which is suffering some insufficient supplies of such staple.

Espina also added that connecting the two provinces, which could also lead to opening an access to the nearby province of Northern Samar, will make it easy for the people of Biliran to travel to Luzon.

He added that part of his plan is to have a Roro port either in the towns of Kawayan or Culaba as both areas are nearer to Calbayog City, a fast emerging area in Samar province.

“I am mulling of having a Roro port put up either in Kawayan or in Culaba. If this plan will be realized, this will be advantageous to both our provinces,” Espina said.

“Whatever abundant supplies we have in Biliran can be sold in Samar and even its nearby province of Northern Samar which are among the most depressed provinces in the country,” the outgoing solon said.

Biliran, a small island-province, has long been lifted from the list of among the top 20 poor provinces in the country and is experiencing rice sufficiency for the past years now.

If this access will be realized, it will only take about four hours of travel, cutting by half the current time travel of eight hours if one will travel by land from this provincial capital to Tacloban City to reach Calbayog City.

Rep. Espina said that he will first meet with officials of the Department of Transportations and the Maritime Industry Authority regarding his proposal.

For one, he would like to know if his proposal is feasible, adding that he hope that his idea will get the green light from both agencies.

He said that aside from fast and comfortable transportation, the Biliran-Calbayog route could open to more investors and tourists coming to his province.

“I envision of making Biliran a hub (of trade and commerce). So for this to be realized, I need to open an access via Calbayog,” Espina said.
He said that Biliran is not often considered by either investors or tourists because of its location which is not within the Pan-Pacific Highway, also known as Maharlika Highway.

“Our province is isolated from the Pan-Pacific Highway. If you want to come to Biliran, you really need to take some effort to reach our province,” Espina said.

At present, one can reach Samar from this province by using small motorized banca which is not sufficient as a mode of transportation in terms of volume of passengers and load capacity. (JOEY A. GABIETA)

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