Photo taken last October 25 at Barangay Maasin, Brooke's Point, where the detour is no longer passable because of the high water level caused by typhoon Maring. (Photo by Janine Bacones)

Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan want authorities from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the second engineering district and the contractor of the Maasin Bridge project in Brooke’s Point to explain why it remained incomplete until it was damaged by floods caused by severe tropical storm Maring.

The bridge was intended to be finished in September of this year, but it stayed incomplete for unknown reasons. In its place, a diversion was built as a temporary route for residents and vehicles, but it was also wrecked during Maring’s onslaught. It was repaired, but heavy rains caused flooding in the river, making it inaccessible once again.

According to the DPWH 2nd Engineering District Office’s advisory, this temporary route or detour bridge will be closed from October 26 to November 7 since the culverts or open drains underneath it has already crumbled.

If residents and vehicles from Bataraza and other nearby areas want to go north, they may utilize the Abo-Abo-Palawan Circumferential Road, it said.

On Tuesday, October 26, during question time, Board Member Cesareo Benedito said that the unfinished infrastructure project was causing issues for residents and vehicles, as seen when there were flooding events in Brooke’s Point.

He said that they had previously sought the attention of the responsible department in September, but no officials had come.

“Problema po ito hanggang ngayon, mas lalong lumaki ang deperensya at problema na hindi madaanan hanggang sa ngayon. [Gusto natin] malaman bakit nakabinbin ang construction nito. Sa aking pagkakaalam may nakalagay din sa karatula kung magkano ang pondo pero hindi nila ginagawa,” Benedito said.

Board Member Ryan Maminta, who is also the head of the Committee on Public Works, Transportation, and Communications, said the Maasin Bridge project, which has a budget of P34 million, should have been completed in September by contractor Northtech Builders.

“[Muli nating ipatawag] hindi na siguro sa committee bagkus dito na mismo sa sesyon ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan sa Question and Hour upang pormal nating makapanayam ang mga representante ng DPWH at ng kontraktor na Northtech Builders ukol sa usaping ito nang hindi pagkakatapos sa tamang oras, tamang panahon ng Maasin Bridge project na may pondong P34,000,000,” he said.

Aside from the DPWH, the provincial board also wants the presence of representatives of Northtech Builders and the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO) next week.

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