Call her ‘KSP’ but solon just happy road completed
This female legislator knows how to catch attention.
Rep. Mercedes Alvarez, of Negros Occidental’s 6th district, had her photo taken while lying on her back in the middle of a scenic road in Barangay Caningay, Candoni town.
She was wearing dark sun glasses, white shirt and black slacks. Her hands were clasped at the back of her head as if she was sunbathing on the beach.
The legislator uploaded her photo to her Twitter account @chedz_alvarez on April 13 and wrote a caption, thanking President Aquino and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the road completion.
She posted the same photos also on her Facebook account.
In her Facebook, she cautioned her followers against doing what she did because she recalled how her companions had to make sure that there was no incoming vehicle while she lay on the road to have her picture taken.
Among those whose attention was drawn was President Aquino.
During his visit to Bacolod on April 30, Mr. Aquino pulled out the April 13 photo when he spotted Alvarez among the local officials in the welcoming party.
Alvarez said she took the photos as a spontaneous reaction because she was so happy seeing that the road had been concreted and was already passable.
“It was spontaneous, a feel of the moment thing, expressing myself and my happiness for the impassable road in far-flung areas now being concreted and passable,” she said.
The road is part of the 81.157-kilometer road network that spans three towns and one city which used to be difficult to traverse because it was nothing but gravel and stones.
A portion of the highway, specifically in Barangays Manlucahoc and Camindangan in Sipalay City, used to be a rebel hotbed where the Philippine Army launched Operation Thunderbolt in the 1980s against New People’s Army rebels that drove thousands of residents to evacuate.
In 2010, the DPWH started concreting the road network that traverses the towns of Ilog, Candoni, Cauayan and Sipalay City which would cost a total of P1.1 billion.
The project includes the construction of nine bridges and will benefit 17 remote barangays.
These are Barangays Tabu and Dancalan in Ilog; Talacdan, Laa and Molobolo in Cauayan; Camindangan, Manlucahoc and Cabadiangan in Sipalay and all nine barangays in Candoni—Agboy, Banga, Cabia-an, Caningay, Gatuslao, Haba, Payauan, Poblacion East and Poblacion West.
Alvarez said the road that connects Barangay Dancalan in Ilog to Candoni benefits residents of nearby Cauayan especially those in the remote villages of Talacdan, Laa and Molobalo.
Finished before 2016
After almost five years, only a portion of the road network remains unpaved. These include the 8.3 km of the 34.7-km stretch from Candoni to Sipalay and the 6.8 km of the 49.4-km stretch from Barangay Dancalan in Ilog to Damutan Valley in Candoni.
Alvarez said the DPWH plans to finish concreting the entire road network before President Aquino steps down in 2016.
During his visit to Bacolod on April 30, Mr. Aquino stressed the importance of the road project in his speech at the Negros First CyberCentre, saying it would cut travel time in southern Negros Occidental and boost economic activity in the area.
He said the travel time from Ilog to Candoni using the new road network was cut down to one hour instead of three hours before.
“And the new highway will bring down the prices of transportation and goods for residents of the area,” he said.
Aquino said his reply to the tweets and Facebook posts of Alvarez would have been for Alvarez not to thank Mr. Aquino but his bosses—the Filipino people.
In jest, the President asked the congresswoman not to lie on the road again.
“Don’t do it again. You still have a lot of work to do for your constituents,” he said, drawing laughter from his audience.
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