By SAUL PA-A
SAN PABLO CITY, Laguna — FORMER Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has assured city and village folks on the speedy reconstruction of the collapsed 56-year-old dilapidated Sta. Ana Bridge, which he has brought to the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Go on Sunday inspected the damaged bridge with Mayor Loreto Amante, Laguna Gov. Ramil Hernandez, Vice-Gov. Karen Agapay, former Board Member Angelica Jones Alarva and barangay leaders.
“Ayusin natin ito. Kung gusto ninyo overpass ilagay natin (Let’s fix this. If you want, we can put an overpass),” Go said in jest, eliciting applause from city and village folks after talking with local officials on putting up a new bridge and not just repair the collapsed structure.
He said construction “as soon as possible” of the bridge is important as this would normalize transportation and mobility of residents in the three barangays and commuters, including the delivery of basic services.
Go also told the city and provincial officials that he would talk to his former colleague in the Cabinet, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, for project funding by the national government.
Earlier estimates by the local engineering district disclosed that the bridge, which Go said serves as “Tulay sa Pangulo” (the President’s Bridge), would cost around PHP36 million.
He vowed that the President’s “Build, Build, Build” project would trickle down to the countryside to speed up inclusive growth and development.
“Rest assured po na iyan ay aking tutukan na magkaroon ng fair share ang Laguna sa “Build Build Buid projects” kung sakaling palarin man ako (rest assured that I will focus on Laguna’s fair share in the “Build, Build, Build” projects, if I would be fortunate (in my Senatorial bid),” Go said.
He said the President’s concern in ensuring the “Build, Build, Build” projects would be in place and “sufficient and equally divided” among the Calabarzon provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
“I’m sure a lot or projects are earmarked in Laguna province. And for my part, I would serve as link to the President whether in a private or public office to help constituents who are in need,” Go said, citing his priority agenda to put up several “Malasaki Centers” across the country, if elected to the Senate.
In a media interview, Sta. Ana Barangay Councilor Edwin Gavino said the bridge was constructed in 1963, and this connects the city’s three far-flung barangays of San Isidro (Balagbag) and Santisimo Rosario for 56 years now.
He said they have been reporting to the local engineering office on the dilapidated stage of the bridge until its collapsed last Jan. 6, splitting the bridge in two when a truck loaded with around 36 tons of sand crossed it.
He also expressed hope that engineering personnel would expedite the construction as the bridge serves as vital link for transport of agricultural products, passengers and commuters of vehicles plying the route from the city proper to the remote barangays.
Meanwhile, 37-year-old lady guard Baby Cortez, with two children in tow after crossing the bridge, told the Philippine News Agency that village folks hope for government agencies to repair the bridge and ease the daily hassle and hazards they have to go through in crossing the collapsed
“Tulungan ninyo po kami. Grabe and hirap na dinadanas namin. Sana bago mag-eleksiyon, maumpisahan na (please help us, it is so difficult for the daily ordeal we have to go through. We hope the construction would start before the elections),” she appealed.
Cortez cited the affected school children, workers, laborers and commuters whose livelihood, trading of agriculture and farm products and office work have been affected for more than a week now. (PNA)