By BEN R. ROSARIO
Manila, Philippines – Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) solons are conﬁdent that major bridge requirements for its provinces will be included in the Special Bridges Program that the Aquino government has started implementing.
Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr. said government fully acknowledges the importance of building new bridges in boosting agricultural production and the tourism industry in the mountainous terrain of Cordillera provinces, thus, their construction is forthcoming.
Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan recommended the use of steel bridges for major structures in the region.
Cosalan, chairman of the House Committee on Public Works, said many structures in the region are of bailey bridges and are old, thus, require immediate replacement.
Baguilat said he had been assured that the Burnay Bridge that collapsed at the height of typhoon Pedring will be replaced soon.
He cited the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for putting up in less than nine days a one lane bridge to replace the Burnay Bridge.
“However, a permanent and wider bridge that could accommodate the huge vehicular traffic volume is also urgently needed,“ Baguilat stated.
When the bridge caved in late September, several municipalities, particularly Lagawe, Hingyon, Hungduan, Banaue, and Mayoyao, were isolated.
The collapsed structure also affected residents of neighboring provinces in the Cordilleras.
Ifugao, Baguilat said, needs several dozen bridges but he and other local ofﬁcials fully understand the government’s difﬁcult ﬁnancial status, thus, they are willing to accept plans to prioritize construction of major bridges, including Burnay.
Cosalan said that construction of more bridges should be major component of the multi-billion stimulus package recently announced by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
Under the Special Bridge Project of the DPWH, ﬁve bridges will be built in the CAR from 2013 to 2014, including the 30-lineal meter Dakitan Bridge in Ifugao.
The Special Bridge Project implements only national bridges and majority of the projects are undertaken by the President’s Bridge Program Ofﬁce.