DPWH: Nat’l historical body must decide on bridge repairs
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Monday passed the blame to the country’s national cultural agencies for the destruction of presumed important cultural properties (ICP) in its conduct of road and bridge improvement works in the provinces of Cavite and Ilocos Norte.
In its statement to the Inquirer, the DPWH Cavite’s First District Engineering Office said it was still awaiting the report of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ (NHCP) on whether to proceed or revise the design for the new Camaren Bridge in General Trias, Cavite.
Either way, the DPWH said work on what it described as a “dilapidated bridge” would still affect the Spanish colonial bridge, which was said to be at least 100 years old.
Should the NHCP decide to stick with the original design, it “may affect a portion of the old structure,” according to the office’s planning section chief Romualdo Bernaldo.
If the NHCP opts to revise the design by reducing the sidewalk width, it would “encourage pedestrians to use the old bridge, compromising their safety and causing further damage or collapse to the old structure.”
Earlier, heritage advocates scored the DPWH for its disregard for heritage and presumed ICP sites in its conduct of
improvement works despite Public Works Secretary Mark Villar’s issuance in April of a memorandum circular urging engineers and local officials to protect and preserve such sites.
DPWH Cavite tried to distance itself from the issue, saying it was just the implementing body for the “locally funded project.”
As for the Barit Bridge in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, the DPWH office there said it had “suspended” the project, “pending resolution from NHCP and the National Museum.”
Like the Camaren Bridge, the Barit Bridge is also a presumed ICP, which means that the NHCP has jurisdiction over it.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.