THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 promised that the temporary steel bridge, which will reconnect Dumlog, Sibonga and Argao, will be completed within two weeks.
DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas yesterday said that the bridge panels are at the site and the other components will be transported to Cebu from Cagayan de Oro City.
“We hope we can reopen the bridge to traffic before the Sinulog celebration,” he said.
Some visitors from Negros and Bohol travel by land via the south highway to attend the Sinulog festival, which will culminate with the grand parade on Jan. 18.
The steel bridge will have two lanes, Canlas said.
Gov. Hilario Davide III, on the other hand, disapproved of the practice of residents who collect a certain sum from passengers using a makeshift footbridge that connects Argao and Sibonga in southern Cebu.
Sibonga Vice Mayor Cirilo Apuda said that the practice has stopped as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 footbridge is now open to the public.
The DPWH-made footbridge is two meters wide and 15 meters long, and is made of coconut lumber.
The makeshift footbridge made by residents was demolished, said Apuda.
A flash flood during tropical storm Seniang destroyed the Dumlog Bridge, which connects Argao and Sibonga in southeastern Cebu. Passengers of public utility vehicles crossed the river using a footbridge made by residents and board buses waiting on the other side.
Residents reportedly collected P5 from each person who crossed the makeshift footbridge.
Davide checked the area last week to verify the report and found that the residents were only asking for donations.
He said that he cannot blame residents who made the makeshift footbridge for collecting money from users as they suffered due to tropical storm Seniang.
“Pero may nalang putlon nila ang practice kay magtibangay unta (It’s better for them to stop the practice because we are supposed to help each other),” he said.
Provincial Information Officer Ethel Natera said the Provincial Engineering Office is clearing alternative routes to the south.
Meanwhile, Davide promised P10,000 to families whose houses were destroyed during Seniang and P5,000 for those with damaged homes.
He dismissed allegations that politics had a hand in the distribution of relief aid.
Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia said his town received 20 sacks of rice from the Capitol but boxes of sardines, noodles and bottled water were given to Vice Mayor Efren Gica.
Gica, a member of the Liberal party, is an ally of the governor.
Garcia said the relief goods should have been turned over to the town’s social welfare officer for distribution.
“I am appealing to all the donors, please do not give assistance through the politicians. Give them directly to those affected,” he said.
He said Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano donated 200 sacks of rice for Sibonga, Dumanjug, Ronda and Alcantara through Gica. He said that the 50 sacks of rice intended for Dumanjug allegedly did not reach the municipal hall.
Davide said Garcia’s allegations are unfounded.
In a separate interview, Gica said that he called Cayetano to ask for help. He said that the rice were given directly to constituents of Dumanjug and other affected towns.
He said Garcia should not be jealous of him as he only wants to help people.