PGMA inaugurates P160-M Tigum Bridge
Iloilo City (28 June) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated the P160-million Tigum Bridge in Barangay Tabucan, Cabatuan, Iloilo during her last visit to the province, June 28.
President Arroyo unveiled the marker of the project, which came in the form of an obelisk, together with Iloilo 3rd District Congressman and Governor-elect Arthur Defensor, Sr., Cabatuan mayor Ramon Yee, other local officials, and officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The structure was constructed to replace the old bridge that was destroyed during the onslaught of typhoon Frank in Western Visayas on June 21, 2008, together with 10 other bridges and a number of infrastructures in the region especially in Panay Island.
The bridge is located along the national highway connecting the central towns of the province to the provincial capital of Iloilo City. It is also along the old route connecting Iloilo to the provinces of Capiz and Aklan.
It will be recalled that given the devastation wrought by the typhoon, President Arroyo included in her State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2008 a program dubbed "Paglaum Fund" for the rehabilitation of damage caused by typhoon Frank including the construction of a ne bridge over Tigum Rover.
A bill was filed in Congress by Iloilo solons in support of the program with the corresponding budgetary requirements needed to implement rehabilitation projects.
However, in view of the urgency of the rehabilitation program, President Arroyo said they did not wait for the bill to be passed into law before making money available.
"We looked for where to get the money in the regular budget so that rehabilitation of typhoon Frank would begin immediately," recalled the President in her message during the inauguration.
A meeting made by Defensor together with Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias with the Chief Executive during a state reception for visiting Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare in Boracay Island in March 2009 helped expedite the release of the funds for the Tigum Bridge project and hundreds of millions of pesos more for other typhoon rehabilitation projects.
The President also included the damage caused by Frank in the rehabilitation program for typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, whose devastating onslaught in Luzon in 2009 generated tremendous international and national private sector support.
"All of my executive orders always included the rehabilitation not only of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng but also of typhoon Frank," said the President.
"Now, Iloilo looks as if no devastation struck it," she added, referring in particular to the implementation of rehabilitation projects in the province.
President Arroyo visited Iloilo and other parts of the region on many occasions in connection with the implementation of various development programs and projects in line with the Ten-Point Agenda of her administration. (PIA 6) [top]