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New bridges for Zamboanga relocation sites to cost P897 million

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
New bridges for Zamboanga relocation sites to cost P897 million
Reps. Benitez and Climaco, Mayor Climaco-Salazar and National Housing Authority officials were inspecting government housing.
Roel Pareño

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Replacing wooden footbridges at relocation areas in Zamboanga City with concrete ones will cost the National Housing Authority close to P1 billion, a lawmaker said.

Rep. Celso Lobregat (Zamboanga City, 1st District) said the replacement of the footbridges is based on the recommendation of Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Negros Occidental, 3rd District), the chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development. 

Reps. Benitez and Lobregat, City Mayor  Maria Isabel Climaco-Salazar, NHA officials and staff fell into the water on April 26 when a bridge collapsed while they were inspecting substandard housing units at sitio Hongkong in Barangay Rio Hondo.

Lobregat said that based on the NHA's computation, there is a total length of 25,049.02 meters or about 25 kilometers of wooden footbridge in at least seven resettlement sites that have houses on stilts.

Lobregat, former city mayor,  there are two type of bridges that needs to be replaced: 2.4-linear meter (LM) main footbridges and 1.5-LM footbridge that lead to the stilt houses themselves.
  
He said replacing both types of footbridge will have a total cost of around P897.6 million pesos.

He said the concrete bridges will address wear and tear on the wooden bridges.

"We are after the safety of the victims of the Zamboanga siege, so, definitely, wooden bridges will have to be replaced," Lobregat said.

He said he does not know if money for the replacement of the bridges will be sourced from the P3.9 billion alloted for rehabilitation during the Aquino administration, but said the NHA will have to find money for that.

NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr., in an interview Thursday, said he recommended the replacement of the wooden bridges.

Escalada said some his officials will be relieved and will face charges over the substandard housing and bridges at the relocation sites.

"Almost all the houses have wooden poles and the NHA will have to come out with the estimate cost, which will be staggering," Lobregat said of the traditional houses on stilts.

Lobregat said, following their infamous fall, he expects the fall of those responsible for the substandard resettlement projects.

"They will not just fall, heads will roll," Lobregat said.

ALFREDO BENITEZ

CELSO LOBREGAT

NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY

ZAMBOANGA SIEGE

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