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PIA Press Release
2007/10/12

GMA hails Bohol for reversed roles at dam commissioning

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (12 October) -- PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo praised Bohol for its sudden reversal of roles from being a classic case of "poverty and hunger driving insurgency and unrest" in 2001 into a "model for peace and development for the country" in 2006.

Speaking during the unveiling of markers after a brief commissioning ceremony for the P3.6B irrigation infrastructure in northeast Bohol, October 12, the President, clad in a powder blue sleeveless pant suit greeted the Boholanos in a hot midmorning sun.

She also commended the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and consultants for a job well done for the project.

According to the President, the project implemented by NIA and which took about seven years to build, adds up to Bohol's total rice production capacity. The project commissioning opens up another 42,500 tons of harvest with the target 5300 hectares of farms now eligible for irrigation.

The President said the facility is supported by a network of farm to market and 97 kilometers of access roads including the 16.5 kilometer Ubay-San Jose-Cabulao road improvement, which not only helps transport farm produce by carry tourists to different places in the province as well.

The new government infrastructure also supports Bohol's anti-poverty mitigations as a tool to reverse the vicious cycle the president was pointing at.

"In 2001, Bohol was 7th in the list of the poorest provinces in the country," she reminded the Boholanos gathered at a venue overlooking the dam reservoir.

"That time, about 30% of the people have allied or actively supported the rebels" she added in Cebuano.

But the President cited the crucial local government intervention with a comprehensive strategy of anti-poverty programs together with military operations. The program also coincided with the church's local peace programs along with national government development strategies and the community support, she said.

"Bohol taught all the people that the way to peace isn't just through the barrel of a gun. Rather, it begins with providing a person a job, food on the table and human dignity," she shared.

For those initiatives, "in 2005, almost all communist fronts were defeated…and Bohol went off the list of 20 poorest provinces to be at the country's top 40," she beamed.

She said Bohol was recognized best performing province in poverty reduction in 2006. She also said Bohol was acknowledged one of the country's provinces with the highest annual growth rates.

And central to the success is investment in people - in education, healthcare, irrigation, roads, bridges and schools.

Stressing her point, she declared in Cebuano: "This irrigation project would increase farm production in the northeastern part of Bohol, including some places in Pilar where the remaining communist front has established camp in 2005.

At the short program, the president also distributed tilapia dispersal certificates, training certificates and seed subsidies including flatbed mechanical dyers to help leverage farm families conditions in the Bayongan service area.

"Because of this, we envision that the next growth center for agriculture and investments comes in this part - from Pilar to Ubay, Trinidad and San Miguel," she declared.

All of these, she said to assure that Boholanos enjoy the permanent stability and growth. (PIA) [top]

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