It was a historic moment for Western Visayas as the RDC VI-Infrastructure Development Committee, during its 3rd Quarter meeting on September 14, 2022 in Iloilo City took up two big-ticket projects seen to spur development in the region. The committee, under its new Chairperson, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, kicked-off by endorsing the Panay-Guimaras-Negros (PGN) Bridge Project after it has been held in abeyance for three years due to the re-alignment of the approach.  Prior to the meeting, on September 9, 2022, the Provincial Development Council (PDC) of Negros Occidental passed the PDC Resolution No. 7, series of 2022, approving Pulupandan in Negros Occidental as the final site for the approach of the bridge.  The PGN bridge is one of the flagship projects of the Build, Build, Build Program.  The endorsement marks the realization of an all-weather, safer, faster and more convenient transportation among islands.

Complementing the bridge, the Iloilo-Capiz-Aklan Expressway or ICAEx was also presented by Engr. Pelita Galvez of DPWH-PPP Service.  This is good news for the region considering that in the year 2019, the Regional Development Council requested DPWH to move the pre-FS for the expressway in the medium term period instead of the long term thus accelerating its implementation.  ICAEx is part of the Philippine High Standard Highway Network.

Other equally important agenda of the IDC was the revival of the Panay Railway which, at the moment, is still accepting funding proposals with no definite timeline yet.

The committee also endorsed four road projects for Iloilo 2nd District Eco-Agritourism Circuit, in support of “Bucari Eco-Tourism Zone Act.”

The National Irrigation Administration apprised the members on the status of the two big dams in Western Visayas, namely, Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Dam and the Panay River Basin Irrigation Development Project. With these projects ahead, Western Visayas will be able to open new irrigation areas to enhance the region’s productivity.  The connectivity will complement in the transport of these goods, not only within the region but also in the country.

These IDC endorsements will be presented to the Regional Development Council during its Full Council Meeting on October 13, 2022. (Ma. Leah Letrero, PMED-NEDA VI)