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PIA Press Release

PGMA to Samareños: Work as one people, one province, one culture

CALBAYOG CITY (16 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urged the people and local officials of the three Samar provinces to get cracking on the peace and order problem in the whole island, saying government development projects would not be enough to eradicate poverty unless the communist insurgency in the area is defeated.

She underscored the need for Samarenos to work closely with the military and police to restore peace and order to pave the way for real progress.

The President sounded the call to end the New People’s Army (NPA) rebellion at her meeting with Samar officials at the Calbayog airport terminal building, and again in her address during the celebration of the 58th Charter Day of this city at the Tiburcio Tancinco Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (TTMIST) gym in downtown Calbayog at noon today.

Among the major projects lined up for Samar island are the P2.2-billion Allen-Calbayog-Catbalogan-Calbiga section of the Maharlika Highway improvement project, the P170-million Guiuan-Ormoc-Calbayog-Borongan truckline and the upgrading of the Calbayog port.

The notice to proceed with the construction of the Allen-Calbayog-Catbalogan-Calbiga road upgrading project will be signed on Tuesday, the President said.

Travel between the Northern Samar town of Allen through Calbayog and Catbalogan to Calbiga, also in Samar, which usually took about two and half-hours, now takes more than three hours because of the broken down condition of the highway.

The President said Samar can compete as a tourist destination with other leading tourist spots in the country, but peace and order must be fully restored first before tourists will come flocking to the island.

"Samar has many tourist attractions, some better than already existing tourist spots," she stressed. "Samar is waiting to be found as a tourist destination," but first the NPA has to be defeated, she added.

The President cited the experience of Bohol, which used to be shunned by tourists because of the then prevailing communist insurgency in that province.

Gleaned from the Bohol experience, good roads will not bring in tourists unless the NPA is defeated, she said, as she pointed out that tourists want to be fully assured of their safety.

The Chief Executive also urged leaders of Samar island -- from the congressmen, governors, board members, mayors down to the barangay officials -- to work as a team for the progress of the whole island. (PIA) [top]

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