LRay pushes Bicol River development
By Juan Escandor Jr. NAGA CITY --- Pushing for comprehensive development of the Bicol River that integrates agriculture, environmental protection and tourism, Camarines Sur second district Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte has moved for the creation of the Bicol River Development Authority (BRDA). Villafuerte said the creation of the BRDA, now on the second reading in Congress, will handle development projects in the 96-km Bicol River. “Our dream is to develop the Bicol River as an area for eco-tourism, agriculture and environment model. We will relocate residents in places where flooding is a frequent occurrence and give them jobs in agriculture projects,” he said. Villafuerte said in line with the eco-tourism project in the Bicol River, a bridge that will link Libmanan to Naga City will be designed to attract tourists. “We are planning an iconic bridge similar to the uniqueness of San Francisco bridge in the U.S. to attract tourists,” he said. Villafuerte said the funding of the BRDA will be allocated through the national government’s budget because the costs of projects cannot be shouldered by one government agency or local government unit. He said to highlight the need to develop the Bicol River, his office will launch a big event next year dubbed as “El Rio Fuerte Festival” or “The Strong River Festival.” Villafuerte said the event aims to promote the historical and cultural importance of the Bicol River in the region named after it. He said he would address the problem of flooding in the second district of Camarines Sur in the 2018 budget. Villafuerte also said that the San Fernando-Pili diversion is already approved. It is aimed to decongest traffic that passes through Naga City.