THE 60-meter long Sitio Pamalayan reinforced concrete deck girder (RCDG) bridge in Conversion village of Pantabangan town in Nueva Ecija was formally opened Monday, May 10, by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The bridge was built in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
The project is said to be essential to the rehabilitation of the more than 44,000-hectare Pantabangan-Caranglan Watershed (PCW), and a vital connection linking Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya provinces.
DENR-Central Luzon Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr. said the P24-million bridge was funded by Jica as an agroforestry support facility in the 10-year Forest Land Management Project (FMP) in the PCW, which connect the 3.7-kilometer farm-to-market road in Conversion village that was constructed last year and supported also by Jica.
“This 60-meter bridge crossing the Diaman river will be of great help not just in the rehabilitation of the watershed, but in bringing government service closer to the communities where they are needed. This bridge benefits more than 350 upland farmers and their families, connecting them to needed health and other public services,” he said.
He said the completion of the hanging bridge is one of the DENR’s strong commitments to uplift the socio-economic well-being of local communities while conserving and protecting the watershed.
Moreno also expressed his sincere hope that the Jica project will continue for a couple of years, as the project has gone a long way in bringing similar projects and uplifting the livelihoods of the surrounding communities.
Mayor Roberto Agdipa accepted the responsibility over the infrastructure in behalf of the local government of Pantabangan, and expressed his appreciation to DENR and Jica, saying the bridge “will not only serve as a simple access point, but as a farm-to-market road and a way to open up remote areas as ecotourism destinations, bringing countless benefits to the communities.”
Launched in 2012, FMP has already rehabilitated 14,133 hectares of denuded forest lands in PCW. It aims to rehabilitate the PCW, one of the biggest protected areas in Central Luzon, through collaborative and comprehensive community-based forest management strategies.