March 18, 2006
(OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the groundbreaking today of the P328 million Ligao-Pio Duran road project that would play a big role in the promotion of economic development and agricultural activities between Ligao City and the coastal town of Pio Duran and the rest of the Bicol region.

The President flew to Barangay Tula-Tula, Ligao City (via presidential chopper) from Sorsogon City to personally lead the ceremonial construction of the Ligao-Pio Duran road. She earlier attended the concelebrated Mass for the 50th Sacerdotal Anniversary of Msgr. Augusto Laban at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Sorsogon City.

Upon arrival, the President lowered the time capsule signaling the start of the construction of the road connecting Ligao City and Pio Duran. The Ligao-Pio Duran road has been the major problem of the residents for almost three decades, contributing to the slow development of economic activities particularly in the municipality of Pio Duran.

Assisting the President were Albay Gov. Fernando Gonzales, Vice Gov. James Calisin, Albay 3rd District Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente Salceda, Rep. Joey Salceda, Ligao City Mayor Linda Gonzales and Pio Duran Mayor Dante Arandia.

During the brief program, Governor Gonzales relayed to the President the sincere gratitude and appreciation of his constituents for the formal construction of the Ligao-Pio Duran road.

"Thank you, Madam President, for making it happen," Governor Gonzales told the President.

The Ligao-Pio Duran road is an important arterial road network in the Bicol region and forms part of the East-West lateral road in the province of Albay. It will connect with the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway at Ligao and the coastal town of Pio Duran.

The construction of the Ligao-Pio Duran road will start next month and is expected to be completed in November 2007. The project will be funded under the proceeds of the loan agreement entered into by the Government of the Philippines (GOP) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

Major work items for the Ligao-Pio Duran road include the construction of 16.6 kilometers of highways, improvement/upgrading of road shoulders, replacement of two existing bridges and construction of one new bridge to replace the existing spillway with a total length of 116.69 meters, damaged slope, protection and miscellaneous structures.

Malacaņang vows to fight any constitutional challenges to Arroyo Presidency

Malacanang said today it is prepared for any constitutional challenges to the Presidency and fight impeachment with the same resolve it had demonstrated in preempting the conspiracy to grab power last February.

"This is a presidency and a government that cannot be pushed around by impeachers or coup plotters," Press Secretary and concurrent Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said.

The Malacanang official dismissed the second impeachment case against the President being planned by her critics, saying it is already defeated even before it could be hatched due to the sheer hollowness of the allegations and claims.

"We are prepared for any constitutional challenges to the Presidency and we shall fight impeachment with the same zeal and resolve we had in preempting and confronting extra-constitutional attacks," Bunye said.

The opposition in the House of Representatives said they would file the second impeachment case against the President in July.

The impeachment case filed against the President in the House of Representatives last year failed to muster the required two-thirds vote to send the complaint to the Senate for trial.

The House later voted to quash the complaint for lack of substance.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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