Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos at the San Juanico Bridge Aesthetic Lights and Sound Show Lights Up Ceremony

Speeches 19 October 2022

Thank you, Secretary Christina Frasco, who is our Tourism Secreta — [please sit down] — our Tourism Secretary, and who is very happy to be here today because we have been over the past week — couple of weeks opening, starting all of these projects that she has been doing around the country and this is another one that will be a big boost to tourism as we have seen in many other cities.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Manny Bonoan; the DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos; and a native, the new Secretary of Presidential Management Staff, Secretary Ma. Naida Angping; Samar 2nd District Representative Michael Tan and other members of the House of Representatives here — many who I have not seen for a long time; Samar Province Governor Sharee Ann Tan and the other governors that are here present; Santa Rita Municipal Mayor Jade Kie Tiu-Magallanes; Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez; TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid; all my fellow workers in government; ladies and gentlemen, maupay nga gabi-i kaninyong tanan (Good evening to all of you). [applause]

It is my pleasure to welcome you all as we witness the lighting of an iconic landmark and a marvel of engineering, the San Juanico Bridge.

First off, I would like to thank the local government of Samar for extending this kind invitation to witness this historic — and also give me an excuse to come home for a little while. [applause]

I could not pass up the chance to be here with you all today, as this bridge holds a special place in my heart, as it was one of the flagship projects completed during the administration of my late father.

In fact, it was my father who spearheaded the inauguration of the bridge, so you can all imagine how genuinely delighted I am to be present to witness the lighting as your President. [applause]

Beyond physically connecting the Provinces of Samar and Leyte, the San Juanico Bridge has become a well-known landmark and a symbol of unity for the people of the two islands which it serves.

Set against the picturesque San Juanico Strait and the beautiful Philippine sky, the bridge has always been a sight to behold, so much so that it has garnered fame and renown as a must-see attraction for Filipinos and foreign visitors alike.

I thus stand here, eager to see this structure come to life once more, as we witness its lighting with pride and with this celebration, thanks to the tireless efforts of today’s organizers.

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.

I eagerly anticipate the assistance it will bring for the complete recovery of the tourism industry in the Eastern Visayas and nearby areas.

So I must extend my warmest congratulations and appreciation to the officials of both the Provinces of Leyte and of Samar, the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, and every single person who worked very well and tirelessly to maintain and further beautify this already impressive bridge.

The joint efforts of both the government and non-government entities in this endeavor are commendable. And it is this particular partnership which we have tried to encourage as we begin to transform the economy of the Philippines in a post-pandemic world. And so you once again have led the way.

It is fundamental in our pursuit of programs this kind of cooperation that 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.

Every day henceforth, this bridge will stand — as it has stood since the beginning — as a staunch reminder of the rewards awaiting our collaborative endeavors.

And come nighttime, 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.

Let the lights of this bridge also signal our resolve to make our islands even more connected, by filling its gaps with displays of ingenuity, creativity, and openness, so that progress may move freely among us.

With this, it is my earnest desire that this event will encourage the local governments of Samar and Leyte, its people, as well as every Filipino, to pursue programs that will not only result to significant enhancements to our infrastructure, but will also pave the way for long-lasting impacts in the lives of our fellow Filipinos.

I would also like to point out to our good governor that San Juanico Bridge was not built for Leyte. San Juanico Bridge was built for Samar. [applause]

The San Juanico… I remember it very well because my mother was saying, as you said you were watching, you watched the development of Leyte, of Tacloban — and this I’m talking before Yolanda — and the progress that was being brought to Leyte. And she said, she was saying “it only arrives hanggang Leyte lang.” Ika niya, sabi niya, “Bakit naman hanggang Leyte lang? Eh paano ‘yung mga Waray na nasa Samar?”

And that is why it was very, very important that this bridge be built to give Samar some of the advantages that Tacloban has, that this — the island, the province of Leyte has.

And so as you… To respond to your cry na, “Samar naman,” I would like to say, dati pa naman, Samar na. [applause]

Rest assured that this Administration will stay the course to provide whatever you need to enhance, preserve, and showcase the best that you have to offer.

It is my hope that in everything we do — even the most mundane activities in our daily lives — let it be our goal to enrich other people’s lives. Let us contribute in whatever way we can.

In the coming days, this bridge and its vibrant lights will welcome motorists, will welcome visitors who will cross it as a welcome sight for those seeking relaxation or release.

But for now, I share a childlike excitement with you as we have watched the bridge light up the night and show us all its splendor and glory in the night.

Once again, my warmest congratulations to everyone here and let us enjoy the show. Damo nga salamat (Thank you very much). Maupay nga gabi-i kaninyong tanan. [applause]

— END —

SOURCE: OPS-PND (Presidential News Desk)