Mayor appeals for patience; tents for southern commuters
While engineers are rushing to install a temporary steel bridge, Sibonga Mayor Lionel Bacaltos said the municipal government will do whatever it can to ease the inconvenience of commuters and drivers passing through his town in south Cebu after the Dumlog bridge got damaged by typhoon Seniang last Dec. 30.
“I am asking them to be patient but at the same time, I intend to work things out as well,” Bacaltos said.
He said he will consider paving the land on both sides of the bridge to allow large cargo vehicles to pass through.
“Bahala na og moagi sa sapa (Never mind if they pass through the river). We can place culverts or whatever it takes to make it passable. I will ask the land owners if they can allow that,” Mayor Bacaltos said.
Bacaltos said tents will be put up on both sides of the road near the bridge to shelter commuters from the rain.
The mayor said he will make the arrangements tomorrow.
Since the approach of the Dumlog Bridge got washed out, travel to and from south Cebu has been disrupted.
Some residents put up a wooden footbridge propped by bamboo poles across the riverbed and charged P5 for each traveler who passes, carrying their belongings.
But Bacaltos said passengers can now give any amount they please.
A diversion road in barangay Bagacay leading to Argao town was established but it can only accommodate light vehicles.
Another road in barangay Bae would have allowed larger trucks to pass but it turned muddy after days of intermittent rain earlier last week.
“We tried to fill it but it just got damaged again,” Bacaltos said.
Bacaltos said businessmen based in Negros Oriental asked him about the state of bridge repair since they were having difficulty transporting goods through Sibonga town to other parts of Cebu province.
The mayor said farmers from Dalaguete town also complained because they can’t deliver their produce
Towns that get their supply from Metro Cebu are also running low on oil, Bacaltos said.
“All these products are wasted because they cannot pass through,” he said.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 assured him that a pre-fabricated steel bridge similar to that set up in earthquake-hit Bohol province and typhoon-hit areas will be bolted to the damaged bridge in ten days.
Engr. Nicomedes Leonor of the DPWH Cebu 1st Engineering District said the steel bridge could be completed in 15 days.
Parts were already being transported to the site since yesterday and will arrive tomorrow.
The bridge still lacks several steel bands which still need to be shipped from Bataan and Cagayan de Oro City, he added.
“If the parts arrive on time, we might be able to squeeze in the construction of the other lane,” Leonor said.
Mayor Bacaltos said the new bridge will be able to hold over 15 tons, which is still lower than the 40-ton capacity of the Dumlog Bridge.
Five days after Seniang hit Sibonga, Bacaltos said the town is slowly recovering.
“We have cleaned up. I can say that we have prepared. But we could use more rice and noodle packs,” he said.
Bacaltos said 1,500 persons were evacuated at the height of Seniang last Wednesday, December 30.
In Ronda town, which sustained the most casualties and damage, Mayor Mariano Blanco III said non-government organizations are undertaking clearing operations along the roads.
“We’ve started to clean up the roads but the rains just keep muddying the place again,” he said.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said 13 people died and two persons are still missing due to flashfloods caused by Seniang which washed out 48 houses and damaged 98 more houses in Ronda town.
Blanco said while relief kits are helpful, his constituents could use some construction materials to help them rebuild their homes.
“I hope that the next time organizations decide to help, it would be nice if they gave us construction materials. I am always willing to assist them,” he said.
The Cebu City government fielded eight Kaoshiung buses since December 29 to ferry southbound passengers.
Six more buses were fielded to the same route last December 31.
Cebu City Hall will also release P300,000 cash aid to the towns of Ronda, Alcantara and Sibonga.
Councilor Dave Tumulak personnel were sent to Ronda town to help in post-disaster operations.
He said Mayor Blanco asked for bulldozers to help in the clearing operations. Tumulak said they will be sending two bulldozers to Ronda town tomorrow./ With Correspondent Edison delos Angeles
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