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PIA Press Release

PGMA to inaugurate the P143.5-M Las Navas bridge in Northern Samar

Manila (16 June) -- Firming up her commitment to accelerate socio-economic development in the countryside, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will inaugurate tomorrow (Tuesday, June 16) the Las Navas bridge, a vital component of the government's infrastructure program located at the heart of the Samar Island.

The Chief Executive, upon her arrival here, will unveil the project marker to signal the formal opening of the new P143.5-million bridge across the Catubig River linking the municipalities of Catubig and Las Navas.

After the opening ceremony, the President will take a ceremonial drive-through 121.35-lineal meter span.

DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr will brief the Chief Executive on the project file of the Las Navas bridge, which started on September 18, 2006 and completed on May 25, 2009.

The bridge consists of four spans, 7.32-meter wide, with pre-stressed on concrete girder resting on bored pile foundation.

Las Navas Mayor Arlito Tan said the new bridge will provide relief, short, safe, convenient and faster movement of people and agricultural products and services in the area.

"Without the bridge, access to Las Navas is only through the Catubig river by pumpboat. Kaya, napakalaking tulong sa aming bayan ang bagong tulay na ito (This bridge is indeed a big help to our municipality)," Tan said.

He said some 30,000 residents in 53 barangays of Las Navas stand to benefit with the construction of the new bridge, majority of whom are in agricultural sector.

Las Navas, which is a fourth class municipality, is basically an agricultural area with rice production as a major activity.

Of the 210.6 square kilometers total land area, 47.33 square kilometers are planted with rice, while 32.75 square kilometers are devoted to coconuts. The remaining areas are planted with abaca and root crops.

The President has put in place a strong agricultural and rural infrastructure program in the country until 2010, including the construction of additional roads and bridges she has pledged to complete to help link up the strategic parts of the country.

The Las Navas bridge is one of the component projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under the Help for Catubig Advancement Project (HCAAP) and funded by the foreign-assisted project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

HCAAP is an agricultural and rural development project designed to initiate sustainable agricultural and economic development in the Catubig Valley and the whole province of Northern Samar.

It is multi-sectoral project comprising of five components namely: irrigation and drainage facilities covering about 4,550 hectares of potential service areas; rural infrastructure facilities such as national and farm-to-market roads, potable water supply and ferry land racks; schistosomiasis control and health components and agricultural support services and institutional development.

The project aims to alleviate poverty by raising income level of farmers, generate employment opportunities and improve the social infrastructure and services of the target areas in Catubig and Las Navas, Northern Samar. (PNA) [top]

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