President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos sees the newly inaugurated aesthetically illuminated 2.16-kilometer San Juanico Bridge linking Leyte and Samar in Eastern Visayas as an irresistible tourist attraction that will induce creative and productive activities that will spell economic development.
The President himself presided over the inaugural rites for the San Juanico Bridge aesthetics light and sound show project which he described as “an excuse to come home.” His mother, former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos hails from Leyte. The bridge itself was constructed during the term of his late father, former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
In a speech in Santa Rita town, Samar province after personally witnessing the 21-minute light and sound show, Marcos said he did not want to pass up the chance to attend the event because the San Juanico bridge holds a “special place” in his heart.
“With the recent completion of the San Juanico Aesthetic Lighting Project, I look forward to seeing the bridge turn into a true sight to behold not just during the day but now even in the dark at night. I look forward to the economic opportunities that will be stimulated by this as well as other Spark Samar initiatives in the near future,” he declared.
“I eagerly anticipate the assistance it will bring for the complete recovery of the tourism industry in the Eastern Visayas and nearby areas,” he added.
The Chief Executive congratulated officials from both the Leyte and Samar provinces, the Department of Tourism (DOT), Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and others involved in the completion of the project.
He said joint efforts of government and non-government entities were “commendable,” noting that such partnerships are needed to “transform” the country’s post-pandemic economy.
“It is fundamental in our pursuit of programs, this kind of cooperation you have done, and programs and projects that will boost the tourism and economic development of Samar and Leyte. After all these years, after overcoming postponements and restrictions brought about by the pandemic, the result of your dedication and perseverance will now be shown in its full glory,” he stressed.
Marcos also expressed hope that the project will inspire and encourage other local government units (LGUs) to pursue programs that will translate to significant enhancements the infrastructures in their areas and pave the way for long-lasting impacts in the lives of Filipinos.
“Every day henceforth, this bridge will stand, as it has stood since the beginning, as a staunch reminder of the rewards awaiting our collaborative endeavor and come night time as people are mesmerized by the wonderful display put up at this scenic spot, let it exemplify how we hold the power to add value, purpose, and grace onto our nation,” he said.
The San Juanico Bridge aesthetic light, he said, “signal the Filipino resolve to make islands even more connected by “filling their gaps with displays of ingenuity, creativity, and openness so that progress may move freely among us.”
He likewise assured other LGUs his administration will provide the support needed to enhance, preserve, and showcase the best tourism projects and other initiatives they have to offer.
Marcos took time to explain to Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan that the San Juanico Bridge was built not just because his mother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, hails from Leyte.
“I would also like to point out to our good governor, that San Juanico bridge was not built for Leyte; it was built for Samar too,” he added.
He said his mother was crucial in making sure that the bridge provided economic and tourism activities for Warays in Samar.
Built in August 1969 and completed in 1972, with a span of 2.162 kilometers, the bridge withstood many challenges including the Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that ravaged Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013.
The San Juanico Bridge aesthetic lighting project was proposed to TIEZA in 2015 by Tan and the DOT in Eastern Visayas (Region 8). TIEZA funded the P80-million aesthetic light and sound project carried out by Amigo Entertainment Technologies Inc.