AGONCILLO, Batangas—Going on the stump in this town for administration candidates, President Aquino on Monday vowed to finish the bulk of the national government’s infrastructure projects before he steps down in 2016.
In his visit to Barangay (village) Bilibinwang, a Taal lakeshore village here, Aquino stressed the value of reliable infrastructure to boost the local economy and tourism.
“As Batangas is opened to opportunities, not just for commerce but for tourism, the result is more improved trade in your town,” the President told about a thousand residents of this fishing community.
Aquino said his administration was focusing on the rehabilitation of the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road and the completion of the 41-kilometer Talisay-Laurel-Agoncillo coastal road in Batangas, which when completed would cut travel time from Tanauan City to Laurel town.
The government hopes to finish the circumferential coastal road by September this year, according to Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.
Road projects, Aquino said, would attract more tourists to popular destinations in the province, such as the diving site at Barangay Anilao in Mabini town, the beaches in Barangay Laiya in San Juan town and the famous Taal Volcano.
The President, however, blamed “mismanagement” by his predecessors for stalled road projects.
He cited the construction of the Ternate-Nasugbu road that would connect Cavite province and Batangas, which he said had yet to be completed although the project was started in 1994.
“That is almost 20 years and it will be completed only in July. Someone said maybe it is a big project. Yes it is such a big project—all of six kilometers.”
“Even if a turtle did the work, I don’t think it would have laid down the equivalent of 300 meters of road each year,” Aquino said.
Aquino took office three years ago.
He said the government had been pouring money into infrastructure projects since he was elected in 2010.
The President also endorsed Risa Hontiveros, the lone senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party who was present during his visit here, as well as the party’s local candidates in Batangas in the May 13 elections.