Gov. Malanyaon Opens Reconstructed P447M Baganga Bridge

By Ferdinand Zuasola 

The biggest bridge here which was badly damaged by a strong earthquake nine years ago was finally reconstructed, linking this town which is the economic center of Davao Oriental’s first district to the economic centers of the region.

Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon and First District Representative Nelson Dayanghirang have led the opening ceremony here for the P447 million Baganga Bridge. Mati Bishop Patricio Alo officiated the blessing of the new bridge. The mayor of Baganga Remegio Nazareno and the mayors from adjacent municipalities like Mayor William Dumaan of Caraga and Mayor John Marco Dayanghirang of Manay have also witnessed the historic inauguration of the reconstructed Baganga Bridge. Rep. Dayanghirang have personally chosen the date of the new bridge’s inauguration, September 7, 2011, as Baganga residents celebrate its town fiesta on the following day.

Residents of this coastal and first-class municipality hailed the completion of the reconstructed Baganga Bridge, saying it will significantly boost the economic activities of this town of 50,000 people. A strong earthquake in 2002 badly damaged the Baganga Bridge, virtually isolating this town from the economic centers of the region. And due to a large funding requirement for its reconstruction, it took years for the cash-strapped government to completely rebuild the Baganga Bridge. In 2002, the Department of Public Works and Highways made a series of “emergency repair” and maintenance for the bridge to keep it passable for light vehicles.

In 2009, reconstruction activities of the Baganga Bridge have started with the DPWH funding the cost of the Phase 1 of the reconstruction project. In a statement, the DPWH placed the cost of the Phase 1 of the reconstruction project at P293 million that mainly involves the removal of the damaged bridge and the construction of a detour bridge, among many others. The Phase 1 of the bridge reconstruction project was completed in December 2010. The DPWH says that Phase 2 of the bridge reconstruction project has an allocation of P154 million that involves the construction of bridge slab, sidewalk, railing and approaches with abutment protection and grouted riprap. The whole project was completed in July this year.

“The completed bridge serves as one of the vital and major components of the national arterial road that links the provinces of Davao Oriental of Region 11 and Surigao del Sur of Region 13. It will also hasten the promotion of regional and provincial development such as agriculture, tourism and agro-industrial areas of the two provinces. The completion of the Baganga Bridge symbolizes progress and development as it serves as concrete evidence that the municipality of Baganga is moving forward,” says a statement from the Davao Oriental First Engineering District.

Gov. Malanyaon and Rep. Dayanghirang have both cited the great significance of the reconstructed Baganga Bridge, saying the government-funded bridge will surely rev up the local economy. The two officials says they are mapping out several development projects that would spur the first district’s economic growth. The two officials have also vowed to allocate more funds for the construction of vital infrastructure facilities like roads and bridges.

However, the DPWH District 1 here says that for the year 2010, it has implemented a total of 16 infrastructure projects costing P122.9 million for the improvement and rehabilitation of roads, construction of public buildings, repair of farm-to-market roads, construction of water systems and other infrastructure facilities. “Amidst some eternal factors that affect project implementation, the DPWH District 1 has exerted its best to improve its efficiency. Thus, we have completed 15 projects and only one project was not started due to late releases of funds. SONA-committed projects (projects mentioned in the State of the Nation Address) undertaken by the DPWH regional office are being continuously implemented. It has concreted 69 kilometers of roads and concrete paving of nine kilometers of road is still ongoing. Travel time has been reduced and ensured road users’ savings in the form of transport cost gained through the reduction of vehicle operating cost… These infrastructure projects have greatly contributed to the vibrant trade and commerce now enjoyed by the people of Davao Oriental,” says the Davao Oriental First Engineering District in a statement. It also adds that the P401 million rehabilitation, improvement and concreting of Surigao del Sur-Davao Oriental Coastal Road is still ongoing.

Governor Corazon Malanyaon says that among the overriding objectives of her mission and vision for her province is to “unlock” the human and natural resource potentials of Davao Oriental and free her constituents from the scourge of poverty so that they may look to a brighter future. She says this future will be built on education, good roads and infrastructure. “Through our substantive support on road rehabilitation, maintenance and improvement, in 2010 alone, 329 kilometers of barangay roads and 492 kilometers of all-weather provincial roads were maintained and rehabilitated,” says Governor Malanyaon.

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