MANILA-- A multi-billion peso foreign -assisted project involving the construction of some 262 bridges in rural areas in the country which had been on hold for more than six years, may now be underway.
In a paper and statement obtained by PNA Monday, Aug.7, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano revealed he has already inaugurated Buted Bridge, one of the initial 10 bridges lined up for construction last year, and has transferred to Laoag City government its management and maintenance.
More bridges are up for construction. Hopefully, all 262 that were approved for construction by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will be completed within the term of the Duterte administration, Mariano said.
The DAR chief has given the go- signal for the resumption of the PHP18.5 billion project dubbed as Tulay ng Pangulo para sa Kaunlarang Agraryo, following reports that the imported prefabricated materials that were stored in various warehouses of the DPWH were getting rusty.
Imagine the Philippine government is already paying the loan and the corresponding interests and yet the project had been put on hold for quite some time.It's about time that the implementation of the project be resumed right away, Mariano said.
Launched in 2008, Mariano said the project, jointly undertaken by the Philippine and the French Export Credit Facility (FCEF), initially involved the provision and construction of 418 modular prefabricated steel bridges with a total of 10,436.4 linear meters, using the French unibridge technology. It was supposed to be implemented over a period of six years.
The construction , however, was suspended indefinitely, following a Senate inquiry five years ago about alleged construction in the past of bridges to nowhere in areas where there are no rivers or roads that cost the government some PHP111 billion, according to then Senator Sergio Osmena.
According to the paper, the latest assessment of the project showed that 262 designs of the bridges were approved by the DPWH for implementation out of the 287 bridge sites endorsed by DAR. Of these, 132 will be built in Luzon, 47 in the Visayas, and 83 in Mindanao.
The project is designed to link the agrarian reform communities(ARCs) to the economic mainstream and open to their development potentials in line with the national agenda of job creation and poverty alleviation
Source: Philippine News Agency