DAVAO CITY – Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. has called on the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to “consider using weather-resistant infrastructure” for future countryside development projects.
Pimentel, in a statement sent to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said that “with more powerful typhoons hitting an area that has hardly been visited by typhoons in the past, we need to look at modern technologies and design.”
The former senator cited infrastructure either damaged or destroyed by the December 4 typhoon, like the collapsed bridge in Caraga, Davao Oriental, which made it difficult for rescue and relief groups to enter the badly hit towns of Baganga, Cateel and Boston.
Pimentel said aside from building infrastructure that are resilient to high winds and strong currents, these should be salvageable and rebuilt without special equipment.
“The technology already exists and sits in DPWH stockpiles all over the country, as modular steel bridging materials,” he said. “Now is the time to deploy these to restore access immediately to areas hit by typhoon,” he added.
Pimented said DPWH engineers were able to build 28-meter-long bridges in “just a matter of days” using modular steel components.
He said that after Typhoon “Frank” in 2008 destroyed a modular steel bridge in Alimodian, Iloilo, “residents banded together, salvaged bridge components and put together a new bridge, without any special equipment.”
“This is the kind of technology that our countryside really needs,” he said.
Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon, in an interview, said part of the provincial government’s plan is to build typhoon-proof infrastructure. This, after even government buildings and schools used as evacuation centers collapsed when hit by Typhoon “Pablo.”
Malanyaon said rehabilitation and rebuilding of typhoon-ravaged areas will have to be planned in such a way that it will withstand future calamities.
Pimentel also decried attempts to stop the President’s Bridge Program or the Tulay ng Pangulo. “If you take this away, what alternative do we offer millions of Filipinos in the countryside?” he said. Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao