MAJOR PROJECTS. President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the inauguration of the Siargao Island Sports and Tourism Complex and the Catangnan-Cabitoonan Bridge Three-Point Bridge System in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte on Saturday (Nov. 6, 2021). He was accompanied by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (seated, left). (PCOO photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte unveiled on Saturday four big-ticket projects in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte worth over PHP1 billion.

The President and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go arrived past 4:30 p.m. in the island and were met by Governor Francisco Matugas, First District Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II, and other officials.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, who arrived earlier, also welcomed the President and his party.

The projects that are part of the “Build, Build, Build” program under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are the PHP630.2-million Siargao Island Sports and Tourism Complex (SISTC) in Dapa town and the Catangnan-Cabitoonan Bridge Three-Point Bridge System which has an overall budget of PHP434 million.

The President said the accomplishments are part and parcel of the people's money and it is his duty to distribute it for the people to benefit from the projects.

"We are confident that Siargao will prosper as one of the famous tourist destinations in the country. Take care of what you have right now and preserve it for the next generations," the President said in his speech. “I love Siargao and the entire Philippines because it is my country. As long as I am the President, I will protect my country."

"Do not allow anybody to ruin your environment here," Duterte added.

Siargao Island Sports and Tourism Complex (Presidential photo)

Duterte expects the SISTC would promote the social, cultural and economic perspective of Siargao, making it capable of hosting major sports and other big-ticket events.

He also hopes the facility will inspire a "greater passion for sports" among the youth and encourage them to take advantage of its facilities to hone their talents.

"We also believe in the importance of investing in a training facility to develop grassroots, talents to become national and world-class athletes," he said.

The 6.3-hectare sports and tourism complex, which was started in 2015 and completed this year, can accommodate around 1,630 persons; has a gymnasium with three courts for basketball, volleyball, and badminton; the two-storey, six-classroom Siargao Sports High School Building that can be utilized for sports development training programs; and an athletes’ dormitory.

The facility also has a rubberized oval with two grandstands, convention center, and swimming pool.

Dapa Mayor Elizabeth Matugas said the complex will inspire more residents to excel in sports.

“With this, we are optimistic to produce world-class athletes joining the international arena. Thank you, President Rodrigo Duterte, for your support and for making this a reality as it helps in promoting a culture of fitness,” the mayor said in an interview.

The Catangnan-Cabitoonan Bridge (348.8 linear meters) and Libertad Bridge 1 (75.8 lm) and 2 (36.8 lm) in General Luna connect the villages of Sta. Cruz, Sta. Fe, Libertad, Cabitoonan, and Catangnan.

General Luna is considered the surfing capital of the country where yearly international surfing competitions are held before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

Catangnan-Cabitoonan Bridge (Photo courtesy of DPWH)

The construction of additional roads and bridges in Siargao, Duterte said, is important for economic development as it aims to provide faster mobility and access to goods and services.

"I hope that you get to build more bridges in the different islands. It would be a very huge improvement of your province," he said.

Duterte lauded Matugas and the DPWH for the infrastructure projects.

"Let us continue working for greater and inclusive progress for the benefit of every Filipino. This is our commitment and this is our legacy to our people," Duterte said.

Libertad Bridge 1  (Photo courtesy of DPWH)
Libertad Bridge 2  (Photo courtesy of DPWH)

The President was also joined in the project inauguration by DPWH Undersecretary Eugenio Pipo Jr. representing Acting Secretary Roger Mercado, Assistant Secretary Ador Canlas of the Regional Operations in Mindanao, Regional Director Pol Delos Santos, and Assistant Director Nomer Canlas of Regional Office 13; and Surigao Del Norte 1st District engineer Alex Ramos. (PNA)