Lawmakers, mayor fall into murky water in Zamboanga

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star
Lawmakers, mayor fall into murky water in Zamboanga
Rep. Alfredo Benitez (top, in striped shirt), Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar (white shirt, with Benitez), Rep. Celso Lobregat (2nd from left, in blue shirt) and NHA regional director Alfonso Borlagdan are assisted in the murky waters after the wooden footbridge they were standing on collapsed yesterday. The officials were inspecting a housing project in Barangay Rio Hondo, Zamboanga City.
Roel Pareño

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines  — At least three lawmakers and several other officials fell into water while inspecting a resettlement site in this city yesterday morning.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development; Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, National Housing Authority regional director Alfonso Borlagdan, NHA district manager Al-Khwarizmi Indanan and their staffs were  inspecting houses on stilts in Sitio Hongkong, Barangay Rio Hondo when the wooden footbridge they were stepping on collapsed at around 10:45 a.m. 

An adjacent bridge also collapsed after several minutes. 

Salazar and Borlagdan were hit by the wooden planks of the bridge and suffered bruises.

 “I’m ok, except that there was a little crab that found its way to my hair,”  Salazar quipped. 

The inspection was cut short as the officials had to clean themselves.  

Lobregat said they were discussing the dangers posed by wooden foot bridges on their way to the site. “Then it happened,” he said. 

Benitez said his committee would not only look into substandard housing units, but also check the foot bridges at the resettlement site.

 “It is a disaster waiting to happen.... The NHA should replace it with concrete to make it more resilient to wear and tear,” he said.

Salazar ordered the immediate repair of the bridge and asked security forces to ensure peace and order in the area.

The housing project is part of the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction for victims of the Zamboanga siege in 2013. 

Indanan said the NHA would also look into complaints on the lack of utilities, such as water and electricity, at government housing projects.






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