CARAGA, DAVAO ORIENTAL, February 1, 2016 –Locals and barangay officials of three villages in Caraga town have vowed their support on the proposed construction of a P59-million PSCG Bridge here, saying this big-ticket project will surely create a huge impact over the lives of their constituents.
Officials of the three beneficiary villages, namely: Lamiawan, Pichon and San Antonio which will directly benefit from the project, strongly expressed their endorsement on the proposed project during the recently held Stakeholders’ Consultation Meeting here. They say this bridge will not only help in transporting their products to town but will facilitate the entry of more development in the area as well as ease access to social services.
Touted as a high-impact project to be implemented under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), the funding will be sourced out through loan proceeds from the World Bank and counterpart funds from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Provincial Government.
A project strongly pushed by the Provincial Government,the proposed bridge construction is anchored on the Provincial Government’s Development Agenda that aims to, among others, Defeat Poverty and Improve Infrastructure, Utilities and Services, said Freddie C. Bendulo, Head of the Provincial Project Management and Implementing Unit (PPMIU).
Bendulo said that although the progression of the proposal took several years due to a series of ‘uncontrollable’ obstacles that hampered its implementation, which include the transition of the PRDP from its forerunner Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP), the Provincial Government and all its stakeholders are positive that the project can now be pushed through.
“Following the new guidelines and policies of the PRDP, the proposal has undergone several revisions, redesigning and rigid review,” Bendulo said.
Among the revisions is the incorporation of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (DRRCCA) concerns in the plan. Engr. Ruel Dumadag, PPMIU I-Build Unit Head, explained that instead of using the original RCDG Bridge design, the team modified it into PSCG type which is considered to be a more efficient design. “A more modern approach was applied in the new design. Among the modifications is the placement of sufficient freeboard to accommodate high levels of water in times of flooding,” he said.
This proposed 75-meter bridge will be erected over the river in Barangay Lamiawan and is expected to benefit a population of more than 7,500 residents including those in the nearby villages of Pichon and San Antonio.
Considered highly-agricultural lands, the locals in these villages say the bridge will create a huge effect in their livelihood as it would facilitate the ease of transport of their agriculture products, particularly ‘first-class’ abaca-fiber which is their mainstay crop.
While the villages of Lamiawan and Pichon which are being considered as areas having the highest production of abaca fiber in the municipality, officials say that the potential for increased production could only be maximized with better roads.
According to the villagers, the main problem in their area is the absence of a concrete bridge that will ease the transportation of goods and service from one barangay to the next.The existing footbridge is only passable on foot or bymotorcycles. Residents added that due to the difficult and often dangerous terrain, fares are far from being cheap.
“Better transportation infrastructure is really essential, especially in our farming communities. It is important to note that high agricultural productivity is complemented by farmers’ ability to quickly deliver their high value goods to market,” said Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon.
Meanwhile, in addition to agricultural and livelihood benefits, the construction of the bridge is also bent at boosting local tourism. Now being eyed for cultural tourism development is the famed Mandaya community in Sitio Sangab in the remote village of Pichon, known for their well-preserved and intact Mandaya culture and traditions.
The governor hopes the Provincial Government will be able to break ground on this project before her term as governor ends on July this year.
The construction of Lamiawan Bridge, among all other projects implemented under the PRDP, bids to enhance value-chain and competitiveness of agricultural commodities. (By Karen Lou Deloso/ PIO DavOr)