DPWH clears last bump in P25M Pampanga bridge | Inquirer News
6-YEAR PROPERTY DISPUTE ends

DPWH clears last bump in P25M Pampanga bridge

/ 05:00 AM September 30, 2022
Structures blocking the approach of the San Jose Panlumacan Bridge in the Pampanga capital of San Fernando have been removed

CLEARED, FINALLY Structures blocking the approach of the San Jose Panlumacan Bridge in the Pampanga capital of San Fernando have been removed, paving the way for the opening of the P25-million structure that has been unused for six years. —PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF SAN FERNANDO LOCAL HOUSING AND SETTLEMENT DIVISION

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has finally recovered the right-of-way (ROW) of a P25-million bridge in this Pampanga capital, ending a six-year property dispute with two families.

The last property blocking the San Jose Panlumacan Bridge was torn down on Thursday with the consent of owner Ruperto Flores, according to Mercy Macabali-Pineda, barangay captain of San Jose.

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Flores last week tried to block the demolition of portions of his funeral parlor for structural safety reasons, but Pineda reminded him that the Regional Trial Court Branch 44 had issued a writ of demolition in July 2021.

That court is where the DPWH filed an expropriation case over his 45-square-meter lot that has blocked the approach of the 27-meter bridge over the San Fernando River, documents showed.

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Completed on April 4, 2016, the new bridge has not been used because two of three property owners refused to give way.

Mayor Vilma Caluag said Flores had consented to the demolition after the local government agreed to his request for a P150,000 donation to cover the repair of what remained of his building.

DPWH Pampanga’s first district engineering office (DEO) sent workers, while the village council lent jackhammers and a generator set to tear down the left side of the funeral parlor.

“We could not give Mr. Flores so much because we are also clearing our waterways and public markets,” said Caluag.

She intervened in late August after learning that the safety of students attending in-person classes was at risk because the old steel bridge just beside the unused bridge was likely to collapse.

Caluag said she solved the impasse by calling all the parties to resume negotiations and laying out a timeline of activities before the start of full in-person classes in November.

The Simeon family left its 119-sq-m land on Sept. 22 after moving into a unit in a socialized housing project by the city government and receiving financial aid from the University of the Assumption, whose students are among the old bridge’s users.

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Motorists also use the rickety bridge to access the eastern and southern villages of San Fernando and nearby Mexico town.While the land owners have yet to initiate a compromise agreement in court, they recently agreed in principle to the P5,000 per sq m valuation set by the Land Bank of the Philippines, according to Isabelita Manalo, project manager of the DPWH Unified Flood Control Management Cluster.

Its precursor, the defunct Mount Pinatubo Emergency-Project Management Office, oversaw the bridge project whose ROW was left to two mayors to help solve.

After the area was cleared, the DPWH has been filling the gap between the approach and the road with soil, DEO head Almer Miranda said.

Caluag has asked the DPWH to pave that section with asphalt and repaint the bridge before its opening.

RELATED STORY:

House cleared from Pampanga bridge path, but funeral parlor stays

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