By Niño Luces
TIWI, Albay – Mayor Jaime Villanueva has urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 1st Engineering District to immediately rehabilitate the damages wrought by Tropical Depression “Usman” in this town.
Villanueva told the Manila Bulletin that he is worried that if another typhoon comes and the bridges rendered impassable by “Usman” are still not repaired, it will only lead to greater damage.
He said the Nagas 1 bridge only has one lane passable for all types of vehicles after its approach cracked with scour due to flooding brought by “Usman” in December last year.
According to Villanueva, if another “Usman-type” typhoon will come, the bridge might collapse and will entirely isolate the town.
Villanueva said in case the bridge connecting the town of Malinao and Tiwi collapses, the DPWH should identify a re-routing or an alternate road so that relief operations and other responses, either from Legazpi City or Metro Manila, could still come in.
“Isolated kami dito. Saan kami tatakbo kung may mas malakas pang kalamidad? Tanong ko nga sa kanila saan kami dadaan kung bumigay yung tulay?” he said. (We will be isolated. Where will we run to if a calamity strikes us again? Where will we go if the bridge is not there?)
According to Tess Mañago, public information officer of DPWH 1st Engineering District, the total amount of damage to infrastructure in the 1st District of Albay reached P3,302,194,518.00.
Mañago said that among the damaged bridges in the 1st District of Albay is the newly constructed Nagas 1 bridge.
According to Mañago, they have already requested the DPWH central office for the rehabilitation of Usman-damaged infrastructure, with the amount of P3.3 billion needed for it coming from the agency’s calamity fund.
“Sana dumating kaagad at ginagawan naman namin ito ng paraan. Habang naghihintay kami ng budget, kami naman dito ay naghahanda ng mga dokumento. Yung nasirang Nagas 1 bridge ay sa ngayon, inaayos yun ng contructor kasi hawak pa nila yun. Hopefully, matapos yun within 1 and a half month, tentative yun kasi depende pa sa panahon,” Mañago said. (We are trying to remedy the situation while waiting for the budget for the repair to be released. The contractor of the bridge is working on the repairs as this still falls under their contract. We expect the repair work to be finished within a month-and-a-half but it also depends on the weather.)
“Yung sinasabi ni mayor na alternate route, o re-routing, yung jurisdiction lang kasi ng DPWH ay sa national roads. Kung gusto niya, mag-identify ang LGU ng lugar para gawan natin ng kalsada. Magtulungan na lang tayo,” Mañago explained. (As to the alternate route being asked for by the mayor, the DPWH’s jurisdiction is only over national roads. If he wants, he can identify an area where we can build additional roads.)