2 lawmakers, mayor fall as bridge collapses

ZAMBOANGA. A soldier of Task Force Zamboanga assists Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar (in white shirt) and Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (in striped shirt) after the wooden stilt-bridge they were on collapsed Thursday, April 26, 2018. (Bong Garcia)

THE government will hold accountable those involved in the construction of a wooden bridge leading to a housing project under the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction Project (Z3R) in Rio Hondo village.

Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez of Negros Occidental’s third district, chairperson of the House committee on housing and urban development, issued the statement Thursday, April 26, after the bridge collapsed and he and 14 other government officials fell into waist-deep murky waters.

With Benitez were Representative Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City first district, who chairs the House committee on public works and highways; Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar; National Housing Authority (NHA) district manager Al-Kwharizmi Indanan; and NHA regional director Alfonso Borlagdan.

Others who fell into the water were their staff and security personnel as well as a member of the local media.

The incident happened around 10:45 a.m. Thursday while Benitez was leading the group to inspect a Z3R housing project in the village of Rio Hondo.

The Z3R Housing Project was designed to give decent homes to poor residents who were displaced during the 2013 Zamboanga siege.

Benitez initiated the inspection following reports that substandard materials were used in the construction of the housing units for the siege victims.

Despite the incident, Benitez said the inspection was “fruitful”.

Benitez said the wooden bridge was definitely substandard and “people (behind its construction) will be held accountable.”

Lobregat said he and Benitez agreed that a concrete bridge should be built in the area instead of a wooden bridge.


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