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PIA Press Release

DPWH assures budget, materials in place to complete 3 Tawi-Tawi bridges

By Rene V. Carbayas

Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi (23 March) -- Reasonable delays slows jumpstarting the construction of the three (3) bridges in Tawi-Tawi, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

DPWH Assistant Secretary Emil Sadain, however, assured that in spite of some delays the project will be completed. He said that the funding is available and in place from the 2009-2010 appropriations and that "there's no reason that we cannot complete the bridge."

"All we have to do is expedite the work at site given the good weather condition in Tawi-Tawi province," Sadain stressed.

The bridge project under the President's Bridge Program became the subject of public scrutiny when the president visited Tawi-Tawi recently to personally inspect the status of the project, which she also led the ground-breaking ceremony last May 2008.

Asec. Sadain disclosed that the project was awarded on the 3rd quarter of 2009. "But somehow, the contractor has to bring some equipment coming from Manila, particularly the board-piling equipment." This, he said, is one kind of equipment that can expedite the work.

"But, unfortunately, at the height of typhoon Ondoy, the equipment that was supposed to be shipped from Manila to Tawi-Tawi was actually washed out by the flashfloods brought about by typhoon Ondoy in La Union," he explained.

Moreover, Tawi-Tawi is an island province and its unique geographical situation also contributed to some difficulty of the contractor from Manila to do some work in the island province. But Sadain assured that "the intention of the contractor along with the DPWH is really to complete the work despite the delays in the shipment of equipment and other vital materials."

Sadain reveals that in the evening of March 9, the contractor had already assured the shipment of the equipment and materials and that in less than two weeks all the materials will arrive in Tawi-Tawi port. And they will resume the implementation of the three bridges.

DPWH also revealed that while some materials are available in Tawi-Tawi, some vital materials for the construction of the bridges will have to be acquired from other parts of the country and be transported to Tawi-Tawi.

With these, Sadain said, "all we have to do is to expedite civil work, and with the materials available at hand, we can complete the three bridges before the end of June of 2010 as committed by the contractor."

Furthermore, shipment requirements, shipment insurance demanded by the company, and security clearances also contributed to the delay of the works. "But eventually, since all these are in place we can have the work started by end of March at the ground," Sadain assured.

DPWH said that the election ban will not deter the completion of the project since the project was already awarded last year. "We just have to work on this and fast track the work."

"The President has instructed us to work on a 24/7 basis. I think we can make that schedule as committed by the President, citing the economic growth that it will bring to Tawi-Tawi province," Sadain said.

At present the municipality of Bongao being the central business locale is accessible only through the use of motorboats and other sea crafts commonly termed as "lancha", where common folks deliver their agriculture and aquatic products coming from the mainland.

With the construction of the bridges, an alternative and shorter route from the mainland sources to the central business center can be provided without going to the hassle of sea travel, giving marginal farmers, school children and village folks, among others, an easy access to main roads and on to commercial and government service centers, schools and hospitals wherein communal cooperation can be established between the government and the local constituents. (PIA9-BST) [top]

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