Quirino residents score slow gov’t action on fallen bridge
MADDELA, Quirino—Residents in the eastern district of this province have assailed the slow action of the government in repairing a fallen bridge along the main highway in Barangay Villa Norte, which, they said, has been taking its toll on the local economy.
They bewailed the lack of concern shown by officials over their plight, with local traders and farmers bearing the brunt of the problem with the difficulty of transporting their goods to and from this town and nearby Nagtipunan in the past three months.
“We do not know what it would take for our officials to do something because with the way they are acting right now, it’s like they simply don’t care,” said a grocery store owner in Barangay Poblacion Norte, who asked not to be named for fear of harassment.
The Tungcab Bridge was damaged by Typhoon “Pedring” in September, isolating Quirino from the coastal towns of Isabela and Aurora, as well as Maddela and Nagtipunan towns from rest of the province.
This has put an added cost on basic commodities, mainly on the transport of goods and other farm produce as cargo trucks could not deliver their load straight to public markets and other retail outlets.
“We always hear our buyers complain, suspecting that we are taking advantage of the situation by getting so much profit on our products. But we face the risk of [losses] if we do not pass on the added [transportation] cost,” said Rita Juan, a store owner in Ponggovillage in Nagtipunan town.
Office employees and students would have to spend an additional P20 in their daily fares.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) earlier repaired a detour, but one which passes through a rugged upland dirt road from Barangay Victoria in Aglipay to Barangay village in Maddela, prolonging travel time by almost two hours.
As an alternative, temporary repair work had been done on the bridge, but allowing only light vehicles, through a steep and narrow path on the damaged bridge.
Although the Tungcab Bridge is a national government concern, Gov. Junie Cua said the provincial and town governments have been working closely with the DPWH and the private sector to ensure that the road would not be closed to traffic.
He cited the construction of the overflow bridge through the resources of the Quirino and Maddela governments, the
DPWH and the local business sector.
“Unfortunately, due to continuous rains, the [alternate overflow bridge] was washed away and had to be rebuilt twice already,” he said.
Cua said there may have been delays in the construction of the temporary bridge because “as we all know, there is a process that has to be followed by the DPWH.” Melvin Gascon, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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