Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR150722: Message by Ambassador Bill Tweddell at the Project Site Visit to PRMF-PGBH Road

Hinawanan, Loay, Bohol
22 July 2015

Governor Edgar M Chatto
Ms Freda Tirol, Provincial Board Member
Hon Helen Alaba, Mayor of Loboc
Hon Odol Tehano, Vice Mayor of Loay
Barangay Captain Gorgonio Amba of Concepcion, Loay
Barangay Captain Herculano Tare, Tangcasan Sur, Loay
Barangay Captain Manuelo Nini, Hinawanan, Loay
Michael Pamaylaon, Calunasan Sur, Loboc
Director Rene K Burdeos, DILG Regional Office 7
DILG Provincial Director Loisella Lucino
Provincial Engineer Gabino Redulla

Thank you for the warmth of your welcome to me, to Rex Kinder and the rest of the team. My thanks, too, to the children for your warm greetings, flying our two national flags.

It is a pleasure to visit and speak to all of you today as part of the Bohol Day celebration and the Sandugo or Blood Compact Festival. As I understand it, this festival is in honour of the friendship and brotherhood between Datu Sikatuna and the Spanish king conquistador, Captain General Miguel López de Legazpi, back in 1565. In the spirit of this friendship, and 400 years later, I am pleased to be here representing the Australian Government to hand over to the province, and to the Municipalities of Loay and Loboc, the Hinawanan–Concepcion (Loay) – Junction (Loboc-Sikatuna) Provincial Road.

I was here in November 2013 when we provided assistance, and saw the devastation caused by the earthquake. Since then, you have worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the rehabilitation and to provide Boholanos a better chance for a speedy recovery. The Provincial Engineering Office personnel, with Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF) advisers, jointly supervised the work as an emergency response after the earthquake damaged the provincial roads in October 2013. The Australian Government is proud to have funded these projects through the PRMF.

The completion of this work, on schedule and within budget, symbolises the high level of cooperation and much valued friendship and partnership between the Australian Government and the Province of Bohol.

Very much as a result of this development cooperation, the Provincial Engineering Office in Bohol designed, tendered and contracted the road works in a record time of 100 days. This impressive outcome drew upon the rapid assessment of the earthquake-damaged roads conducted in cooperation with PRMF engineers. The province is currently sharing its learning and the changes in systems that it has employed to ensure timely implementation of all the road projects, regardless of the funding source. In sharing these experiences, you are inspiring others to embrace similar reforms.

Our Governments have been partners in many development projects for more than 20 years. This road project is just one of them, and one of 14 that have been handed over today. I am proud that the Australian Government has been able to help you when you needed it most. I was told that a member of your community told our PRMF team that they are relieved and not worried anymore because they can see that the roads are being fixed and are getting better. Another person from your community said that the road allows them to continue working. These are amongst the reasons why the Australian Government engages in this kind of partnership.

Our goal has been to help the province to recover fully from the disaster, and road rehabilitation has been vital in this effort. It is about helping people to become mobile again, to get back to their normal lives in the affected communities, gain access to health services, education, and markets. I am very happy to be here again and to be part of this significant event as we reconfirm our commitment and friendship. I am very pleased that the Australian Government has been able to contribute in a meaningful way to your community.

Congratulations and good day to everyone.