Santiago inspects unfinished bridge in Loboc, Bohol
() - September 9, 2005 - 12:00am
The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has stepped into the controversy surrounding the construction of a bridge in Loboc, Bohol.

Ombudsman-Visayas director Virginia Palanca-Santiago said she went to Bohol on August 26 to conduct an ocular inspection on the controversial bridge, which was constructed during the Marcos regime but was left unfinished. During its regular meeting last Tuesday, the infrastructure development committee of the Regional Development Council sought an explanation from the Department of Public Works and Highways about the development on the structure.

"What happened to the Loboc Bridge now? You owe us an explanation," said Valeriano Avila, the IDC vice chairman. Avila said the construction of the bridge, dubbed as the "Bridge to nowhere," started in the 1970s, but is yet to be finished due to the alleged opposition from the Loboc parishioners because it might destroy the town's 400-year-old church, one of the famous landmarks of the province. But Avila said he believes the parishioners' opposition was not the only reason why the bridge's construction was stopped.

Loboc Bridge is a modern steel and concrete structure spanning the Loboc River. If finished, it is said to do wonders for the local economy, but it could also run smack into the side of the town's famous church. However, DPWH officials said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had already turned over the management of the bridge to the local governments of Loboc and the province. Last week, the DPWH said it gave the deed of conveyance to the town's local government for the turnover.

Santiago, who went to see the local officials of Loboc, said the local government is planning to do something on the multi-million project. In fact, it set to enter into an agreement with the DPWH and the parish council regarding the issue. But she said the Ombudsman would still study the feasibility of the Memorandum of Agreement.

Santiago added that the investigation is being expedited following the order from Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo who saw the situation of the bridge upon his visit to Bohol last month.

Although no complaint was filed before the Ombudsman, the investigation stemmed from Avila's column in The Philippine Star, Santiago said. - Liv Campo and Wenna A. Berondo

AVILA BOHOL BRIDGE BUT AVILA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS LIV CAMPO AND WENNA A LOBOC LOBOC BRIDGE LOBOC RIVER MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN-VISAYAS
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