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Ormoc Diversion Road started; Lucy inaugurates more projects

Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez and DPWH regional director Ronaldo Asis (beside Richard to the right) pose with the personalities present during the groundbreaking. (L-R) Barangay chairmen Rodolfo Ramos of Bantigue and Francisco Villa of Biliboy, Matt and Manuel Torres, Lucy, Sabin Larrazabal, Emma Fragata, Richard and Dir. Asis, Atty. Iñaki Larrazabal Jr. and 4th LED District Engineer Lino Gonzales.

ORMOC CITY – Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez, her chief of staff Richard Gomez and regional director Rolando M. Asis of the Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH) led the groundbreaking of the first phase of the P 600-million Ormoc Diversion Road that will traverse from Brgy. Bantigue down to Brgy. San Pablo in this city.
The diversion road has long been in the city’s land use planning board crafted during the time of then Mayor Iñaki Larrazabal Sr. but never saw realization until now. If finished, it will decongest the city of its current traffic mess. Currently, sugarcane trucks and big haulers have to pass through main thoroughfares, often jamming the traffic in bottlenecks because the city streets are narrow compared to the sizes of trucks and prime movers nowadays.
DPWH regional director Asis, in a rare visit to the city, told the audience that the road is a testament to Lucy and Richard’s hard work.
He said they were not only able to get initial funding for it but also the commitment that it would be continually funded until it is finished. Currently, the project was released P 100-million but he said it will take more than P 600-million to finish it.
In her speech, the congresswoman bared the efforts they had to go through just to get funding for the project. Lucy said that first, they went to budget secretary Abad to ask if the government has enough funds to earmark for the project. Then, they went to secretary Singzon to ask for his support and last, to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III himself so that it would be treated as a priority project, together that it would get the necessary funding until it is finished.
The congresswoman said the project was important for Ormoc’s progress as it would decentralize the concentration of commerce in the city proper and enable the growth of other areas. This way, new businesses can come in and young blood with fresh business ideas can find a niche.
Serbisyo, dili
She also emphasized she would not have been able to realize the project without the help of her chief of staff, husband Richard Gomez, who helps her on her “begging missions” and props her up when she feels frustrated and tired.
Lucy added she does not want to answer criticisms hurled against her by her detractors. “Dili man mu buta ug bungol. You can see and you can hear” about the projects they’ve brought to Ormoc and the district, compared to that of her predecessor.
Lucy said she’s lived up to the promise that when she comes home, she will bring “good news” with her, this time the start of the diversion road construction and other projects that she had to inaugurate that day. “Misud mi ani para magserbisyo, dili magnegosyo”, the congresswoman added. (We went into politics to serve, not to make business out of it.)
Richard Gomez, in his short speech, added that this was the Gomez brand of politics. One that would continue the good plans of an old or previous mayor. Richard has already announced he was running for mayor of Ormoc come 2013.
Present during the groundbreaking were representatives of three Larrazabal families. Atty. Iñaki Larrazabal Jr., the son of the mayor of Ormoc whose long dreamed of Ormoc Diversion Road is soon to see fruition; “Pineapple King” Sabin Larrazabal and Toto Leo Locsin, a scion of the Potenciano Larrazabal wing.
Also present were barangay captain Rodolfo Ramos of Bantigue and Francisco Villa of Biliboy,  consumer advocate Emma Fiel-Fragata, and Lucy’s brother Matt who is running for mayor of Kananga, Leyte and brother-in-law Vincent Rama.
Covered court, 4-classroom
building at San Pablo
After the short program at Bantigue, the congresswoman and her party proceeded to the Brgy. San Pablo Elementary School where they were warmly welcomed by barangay officials, teachers and students.
There, the Gomez couple together with district engineer Lino Gonzales inaugurated a covered court and a 4-classroom two-story building.
Richard Gomez told the audience that they were lucky to get the covered court because it was the same covered court that was rebuffed by barangay chairman Alburo of Canadieng. Alburo said that he cannot accept the project because he’d been promised by Mayor Codilla a covered court and since he was a political ally of the mayor, he’d rather wait for it.
Richard said that since Canadieng did not want it, they decided to look around for a barangay that would take it. Former San Pablo barangay chairman said they would welcome the project and the funds be used to finish a covered court started by the previous congressman. However, after re-aligning the funds, they were again told by barangay chairwoman Estrella Cortez that Mayor Eric Codilla has again outgunned them on the project.
Since re-aligning it to another barangay would again take time, Richard said, DE Gonzales suggested that it be constructed at the school, to the delight of the parents and teachers. The covered court finally found a home at San Pablo, he said.
The couple also inaugurated a four classroom, two-story building at the same school painted in Lucy’s signature bright yellow and blue “happy” colors.
In her speech, openly endorsed her husband’s planned candidacy for Mayor of Ormoc, adding that if he is mayor, they can do a lot more than what they have been able to in just a short two years.
A ceremonial turnover of the keys to the classroom was also held with school supervisor Sherlita Pama and principal Leonila Laplana on the receiving end.
At Brgy. Domonar
The congresswoman’s visit did not end at Brgy. San Pablo. Together with her party, she proceeded once more to Brgy. Domonar for another groundbreaking ceremony, this time for the Mabini-Domonar-Palompon road.
An important farm-to-market/access road, it will shorten the travel between Palompon town, a major coastal town which is home to Leyte’s tourism crown jewel Kalanggaman Islet. Some P 25-million has already been released and the congresswoman said she is working for another P 25-million to be allocated.
Snack ng Bayan
After the short program at Domonar, Lucy and Richard proceeded to the St. Peter and Paul Parish Church to meet around 5,000 people who joined the procession of saints.
Since she became congresswoman, Lucy and Richard has always sponsored free snacks for those who join the procession.
Fr. Dennis Soon, organizer of this year’s procession, in his Sunday masses said that this year’s procession is expected to have more people as they have now involved the private sector and organizations.
The procession will end at the church where a “barrio fiesta” atmosphere will greet the participants. Everybody is free to get their snack of choice from various vendors that the priest said he would invite to serve the hungry and thirsty crowd, the bill which will be footed by Richard and Lucy Gomez.

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