WHILE the flooding problem at the Banica River in Dumaguete City continues to pose a threat to the public, millions of pesos in funds are also already “pouring” in to build bridges to replace the two spillways at the said river.
The City Government announced it has P100 million to fund the projects, while Representative Manuel Sagarbarria of the second district of Negros Oriental, of which Dumaguete City is a part of, said he will allocate the same amount for inclusion in the 2019 budget.
The Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) is also looking at proposing to Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo that the construction of the two bridges be given to the private sector under a Build, Operate, and Transfer scheme.
The City Government, however, is confident that it can jumpstart the project within this year because it only needs an appropriation from the legislative council, said City Information Officer Dems Rey Demecillo on January 31.
The City Government has found the needed P100 million from local funds for the two bridges to be constructed in lieu of the spillways in Barangay Taclobo (one connecting to Colon Extension and the other to Barangay Bagacay), he added.
Demecillo said this is the mayor’s response to the traffic problem in the city, as well as mitigating measures in times of calamity, considering that there are many residents living along the banks of the Banica River.
These spillways overflow and are rendered impassable during heavy rains, thus creating traffic build-up in the city and endangering the informal settlers living nearby.
According to Demecillo, the City Government is optimistic it can start building the bridges within this year once the bidding process has been conducted after the appropriation of the funds.
While the mayor welcomes the congressman’s pronouncement of funding the same projects, he pointed out time constraints involved.
Demecillo said the mayor is hoping that the funds from the second district congressman could perhaps be used to build more bridges at the Banica River in the near future.
Meanwhile, some consultants of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have offered “free” technical help to Dumaguete for the construction of the bridges.
The mayor said some of them have expressed willingness to extend their help to the city in terms of consultancy free of charge.
Remollo said aside from the tourism potential, the connection matters most.
He said this will help because city engineers of Dumaguete do not have the experience in constructing bridges, that is why it is seeking the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas.
Former top executives of the ADB visited Dumaguete recently, along with their wives. They were accompanied by Ricardo Tan, former ADB representative to the Philippines and former Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation president during the time of former Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Fidel V. Ramos.
Most of them are from Europe and are experts in funding and construction of bridges, roads, and even traffic, said Remollo. (PNA)