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Villar vows completion of Bacolod-Negros road

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star
Villar vows completion of Bacolod-Negros road
Former public works chief Mark Villar speaks at a rally for former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio held in Cavite on December 9, 2021.
Screenshot from Uniteam BBM-Sara livestream

MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial aspirant and former public works secretary Mark Villar has vowed to push for the continuation and completion of the 49.82-kilometer Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway (BANOCEH) project if he wins a seat in the Senate.

“BANOCEH is under the Build Build Build program of the Duterte administration. This project is a significant infrastructure that aims to ease traffic congestion and aids in the economic development of the province of Negros Occidental and the country in general,” Villar said in a statement.

The P7.97-billion BANOCEH is a multi-year infrastructure project in Western Visayas being implemented by DPWH, under the Build Build Build program of the Duterte administration. It started in April 2017 and is expected to be completed in December 2024.

Villar said that with the construction of the bypass road, travel time from southern Negros and northern Negros going to Bacolod-Silay Airport Road would be reduced by approximately 25 and 40 minutes, respectively, providing comfort and ease of travel to roughly 20,000 travelers per day.

Peace talks

UniTeam senatorial candidate Loren Legarda yesterday called for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

The three-term senator and current House deputy speaker stressed that peace talks would be needed for the country’s economic rebound from the crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legarda, a veteran of humanitarian and peace missions, explained that a key component of the peace talks is the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, a proposed joint agreement between the government and the NDF that contains “concrete and doable steps toward liberating the Filipino people from poverty, exploitation and underdevelopment.”

“As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for all of us to only have one objective in mind: to achieve lasting peace, end poverty, and pursue socio-economic programs that will benefit our people and help the country realize national recovery and development,” she said.

Legarda had previously helped the government panel for the peace talks with the NDF.

“As an official who has maintained good working relations with the NDF over the years, I have seen the sincerity of all sides to pursue a common objective and have witnessed their intense desire for peace and social justice. Resuming the peace talks and continuing the discussions on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, the very heart and soul of the peace negotiations, will help us find a common ground to help achieve our goal,” Legarda said.

Tough battle

In another development, former senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito admitted that he is facing a tough battle in returning to the Senate, as he faces the same problem during the 2019 elections, where he and his half brother, Jinggoy Estrada, both lost.

Despite the tough battle, Ejercito said he has a mission and obligation to finish, complete and implement the Universal Health Care law, which he principally authored.

He is again seeking a Senate seat in the May 9 elections. – Edu Punay, Gilbert Bayoran

MARK VILLAR

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