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Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade vows to further promote development in Pangasinan through vital transport infrastructure projects and other transport initiatives as he led the inspection of the Pangasinan Port Cluster Development Project today, 10 June 2021, in Lingayen.
Secretary Tugade proceeded to the province’s capital to inspect the two (2) DOTr social and tourism port projects in Brgy. Capandanan and Brgy. Pangapisan. These much-needed projects that locals have waited for a long time, now provide a convenient docking area for fisherfolks and allow reduced travel time for locals from one destination to another.
“Pakikinabangan ng Pangasinan ang mga proyektong ito dahil sa pag-unlad ng turismo, ng ekonomiya. Dito sa munting proyektong ito ay tinatanim ang punla to realize the President’s mandate of connectivity and convenience,” Sec. Tugade said.
Pangasinan Port Cluster Development Project
During the inspection, local leaders and several fisherfolks expressed their gratitude to Sec. Tugade for the completion of the port projects. They emphasized that the rock causeway with stair landing in Barangay Capandanan and the river landing in Barangay Pangapisan have been game changers for serving as ideal docking areas and convenient facilities for loading/unloading of incoming/outgoing local products, particularly agricultural and marine products in the locality.
The projects were completed in 2018 by the DOTr Maritime sector, together with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) under the leadership of General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago.
“Malaki ‘ho ang naibibigay na gaan sa pasanin ng ating mga kababayan ang port projects na ito dahil bukod sa pagpapabilis ng biyahe ng ating mga kababayan, maayos na rin ang docking area para sa unloading at loading ng mga isda at agricultural products ng ating mga mangingisda o ibang lokal na residente,” Secretary Tugade pointed out.
“Apo, Secretary, you earned the respect of our congressmen and congresswomen especially when you present yourself, and the ideals, and the plans, programs and actions of the Department. You earned the admiration and respect of Congress where I used to belong. Our beloved Secretary approved the upgrading of our river landing facility. Here in Lingayen, we are supportive of your Department’s program of actions,” Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil said.
To note, around 812 fisherfolks were given decent docking areas and venues for the loading/unloading of agricultural products in their communities. Currently, 2,079 residents of Brgy. Capandanan are also ferried to Brgy. Pangapisan, especially those who are studying and working in Lingayen. 
From a 30-minute travel by land, the development of the river landings reduced the travel time from Pangapisan to Capandanan and vice versa to just 3-5 minutes. 
“Napakahalaga itong nagawang project. Ang barangay namin ang pinakamahirap sa buong Lingayen. Maraming salamat sa DOTr, lalo na kay Secretary Art Tugade dahil naaksyunan ang aming request. Maraming pangarap ang natupad dito sa tinatawag naming Bantayan. Maganda ang kapakinabangan nito sa amin lalo na sa mga estudyante, fisherfolks. Noon kasi nahirapan kami noong pumutok ang Mt. Pinatubo, nagkaroon ng island kaya nawala 'yung tawiran. Hinihiling din po namin Secretary na sana matugunan ang request namin na second phase ng proyekto,” Brgy. Capandanan Chairman Diosdado Santiago Jr. said.
Lingayen Airport Expansion
Aside from the port projects, the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) have also completed several airport projects, including in the Lingayen Airport. However, Sec. Tugade sees the need to further expand its runway for commercial operations.
“Kailangan ‘ho, para mailagay natin sa kategorya ng tourism airport ‘yan ay kailangang pahabain ko ang runway at ma-achieve ‘yung minimum na 1,300 kilometers to 1,500 kilometers. At dapat mapalapad ‘yung runway from what it is na 30 meters ngayon. Kailangan ma-achieve natin ‘yung 40 meters. Dagdagan namin five meters sa kaliwa, five meters sa kanan, nang sa ganon ay ma-achieve ‘yung requirement,” Secretary Tugade stated.
Free Ride Program
Another part of Sec. Tugade's Pangasinan visit was his dialogue with transport groups and stakeholders in Dagupan, Urdaneta, and Rosales, wherein vital road transport initiatives were discussed. These include the expansion of the Free Ride Service Program of the DOTr for healthcare workers and authorized persons outside residence (APORs) in Pangasinan. 
The Transportation Chief added that the “Libreng Sakay” initiative will be expanded up to 10 routes to cover inter-towns in Pangasinan.
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