Bacolod City Rep. Greg Gasataya welcomed the reassurance of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to link Negros, Panay, and Guimaras via the P189.53-billion Panay-Guimaras-Negros (PGN) Island Bridges Project that starts in 2025. Gasataya, who was present in the second State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) of the President on Monday, July 24, said the bridge would truly help stimulate local tourism and economic growth in Western Visayas. He also said that it is a pleasure to know that the plans and vision in service align, especially in terms of health, education and capacity-building, social services, and infrastructure development. As evident in the thousands of scholars, medical and financial assistance beneficiaries, and emergency employment grants, the national government has been nothing short of supportive in the efforts to realize and enable the goals for the City of Bacolod and its people, he added. Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson cited the President for mentioning the project. Lacson also lauded the President for emphasizing the development and capacity building of the agriculture sector, including bio-security measures for farm animals. He said the President’s focus on water security also coincides with the province’s present initiative – the Provincial Integrated Water Security Plan. The positive developments in the economy, the present growth rate and the improvement of the inflation rate, are also welcome news, he added. Lacson said that he is joining the call of the President to end the armed struggle through capacity building, reintegration, and amnesty to rebel returnees. He said that the promotion of participatory initiatives in the attainment of the country’s peace agenda is the more sustainable way of peace. Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez here said that he is committed to align the city government efforts with the national agenda to bring about positive change for citizens. Benitez, who was present at the SONA, said that he is confident that similar dedication is mirrored in leaders across the country. Hand-in-hand with the national government, we shall work tirelessly to fulfill the aspirations of every Filipino, knowing that the administration's efforts benefit not only Bacolod but the entire nation, Benitez said in a statement. The PGN Island Bridges Project is 32.47-kilometers long and is composed of two sections – Section A (13-kilometer Panay-Guimaras Bridge) and Section B (19.47-km Guimaras-Negros Bridge). It is one of the priority projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Source: Manila Bulletin (