PGMA inspects nautical highway operations in Dapitan
By Franklin P. Gumapon
Dapitan City (21 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was here Friday to see for herself how the people of Zamboanga del Norte and other places of Mindanao benefit from the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) which aims to link the entire country through roll on, roll off (RoRo) facilities.
The President, who also visited the same day the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay, arrived here via chopper and was received by Zamboanga del Norte officials led by Governor Rolando E. Yebes, Representatives Cecilia Jalosjos-Carreon, Rosendo Labadlabad, Cesar G. Jalosjos, Mayor Evelyn Uy of Dipolog City and Mayor Dominador G. Jalojos Jr. of Dapitan.
Two SRNH beneficiaries, Rosa Manuel, 50, and Ananias Darunday, 49, told the President that they were so grateful for the government's nautical highway project, as this has encouraged more vessels to ply the Dapitan-Dumaguete-Cebu route.
For Manuel, a widow with three children, the nautical highway has enabled her to strengthen her bond with her children who are all studying in Dumaguete City. With the SRNH, she could now visit her children every week without incurring absences from her work for she could go to Dumaguete early morning on Saturdays and be back Sunday afternoon. "A passenger now can even go to Dumaguete and be back the same day because more vessels are now servicing the area," said Manuel.
For his part, Darunday, told the President that with the SRNH he was able to find a job that enables him to send his three children to school. He is now working for the Albert R. Ting Fishing Corp. (ARTFC) of Zamboanga City which sells its products to the markets in the cities of Dumaguete, Cebu and Bacolod. As an employee of ARTFC, Darunday is responsible for seeing to it that the company's product is properly and promptly loaded into RoRo vessels for immediate delivery to its clients.
He added that the SRNH gave him a chance to leave his former job as a bus conductor in Manila to be with his family in Dapitan.
In a related development, the President also distributed family health cards to indigent beneficiaries from the municipalities of Sindangan, Siayan, Leon B. Postigo, Piņan, Manukan and Dapitan City.
A certain Melchor Antivo, 32, married with three children who was one of the recipients of Philhealth expanded program for indigents personally expressed his gratitude to the President because when he was hospitalized for his peptic ulcer at the Jose Rizal Memorial Hospital in Dapitan City, he was not able to pay anything for his hospital bills and medicines.
President Arroyo also handed a P5-million check to Gov. Rolando E. Yebes for the upgrading of Piņan District Hospital in Piņan town. The President wanted that the said hospital, which is a primary hospital, be upgraded to a secondary hospital that can cater to basic surgical services such as caesarian birth section, tonsillectomy and others.
Boxes of assorted medicines were also turned over to the provincial government by the President during his recent visit here. (PIA-ZN) [top]