The Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC) VI, in partnership with the regional offices of the National Irrigation Administration, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Agriculture, and the Calinog  Local Government Unit completed the requirements for the demolition of the unfinished Old Toyungan Bridge in Iloilo.

According to NIA VI, the left abutment of the bridge is directly obstructing the opening portion of the Alibunan Catch Dam’s fish ladder. “The turbulent effects of the river flow caused by the existence of the old bridge’s left and right abutments is certain to adversely affect the newly constructed catch dam once it becomes operational,” said JRMP II Project Manager Jonel B. Borres.

Former NEDA VI Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal initiated the validation and resolution of the concern in CY 2020 by holding three regional technical meetings and two local consultations. OIC-RD Meylene C. Rosales sustained the previous efforts and pushed for consistent local and national level coordination, leading to the issuance of No Objection Letters by the DAR Central Office and Calinog LGU and the conduct of the site inspection with COA last September 21.

“The bridge is no longer suitable to the actual field condition since it is short of length due to the widening of the river to meet the design width of the catch dam project, and, if completed, will endanger the end-users since the foundations are prone to scouring. Hence the proposed demolition of the property is justifiable,”  COA Iloilo Province State Auditor Raquel G. Jordan mentioned in her letter dated October 14, 2021.

With the COA endorsement, the Calinog LGU can start demolishing the bridge this October, following the standard rules and regulations for the disposal of government property.

Meanwhile, the construction of a temporary overflow bridge by NIA VI is ongoing with a physical accomplishment of 80 percent. Once completed, it will ensure the safe crossing of the residents and pedestrians while waiting for the New Toyungan Bridge to be constructed.  Documents required for the funding of said proposed two-lane, concrete girder bridge 100 meters downstream of the catch dam are now with the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) – Regional Project Coordination Office (RPCO) for review and possible endorsement. (Marlon T. Jinon/NEDA Region VI)