Thursday, January 31, 2013

P468-M JICA-funded bridge to provide infra link to 50,000 folks in Aurora, Quezon

DINGALAN, Aurora – An estimated 50,000 residents in 22 barangays in the twin provinces of Aurora and Quezon will be the direct beneficiaries of a P468-million,  Japanese government-funded bridge which was launched in this coastal town.

Sen. Edgardo Angara said the 358-linear meter Umiray bridge, funded mostly by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, will – for the first time – open the province to Quezon (formerly Tayabas) by June 2014 and will open up a third gateway to Aurora through the Manila-Infanta Road.

“As you can see, Aurora is connected to Manila only via the Baler-Bongabon (Nueva Ecija) and the Pantabangan (Nueva Ecija)-Canili (Ma. Aurora) Road. So essentially, you are opening a third gateway to Aurora with this bridge,” he said.

Angara and Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe led the ground-breaking rites for the bridge in Barangay Umiray in the boundary of the twin provinces. Also witnessing the event were Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, JICA senior representative Sachiko Takeda,Department of Agrarian Reform undersecretary for support services Jerry Pacturan,  Quezon Gov. David Suarez, and Mayors Zenaida Padiernos of Dingalan and Leovigildo Ruzol of Gen. Nakar.

The Umiray river serves as a boundary for the two barangays that are named after the river, one side is in Dingalan, Aurora belonging to Central Luzon. The other side is in Gen. Nakar, Quezon which is under Southern Tagalog.

Angara said the river is a very important river basin because its water supplies Metro Manila with drinking water and the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal with irrigation water.

Pacturan said the  bridge project is part of the government’s efforts to spur rural development, ease poverty and ensure food security through improved trade and commerce in the area where people could bring with ease their goods from one side of the river to the other.

Pacturan said Umiray folks  pay a high cost in hauling a sack of farm goods from either side of Gen. Nakar or of Dingalan, which is pegged at P70 – P50 for manual hauling and P20 for boat fare.

He said the amount would substantially be reduced to P15 once the bridge becomes available for traffic by June 2014, its target date of completion, the very year when the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) expires. By then, farm goods can be transported on passenger jeepneys or tricycles.

Pacturan said the project is the culmination of a three-year consultation and planning conferences between and among all concerned national and local government agencies in partnership with JICA which will finance P368 million out of its total cost of P468 million.

Once completed, the bridge would also considerably reduce travel time and expenses from Aurora to Quezon and vice versa, and spare local residents from negotiating long stretches of rough and rugged road just to get to the town proper of either Dingalan or Gen. Nakar.

A total of 50,093 residents in 22 barangays of the two provinces, including 13,735 in four agrarian reform communities (ARCs) – Umiray in Gen. Nakar and Umiray, Ibona and Matawe in Dingalan – will directly benefit from the bridge.

Ruzol said the bridge will also help ease the long-standing problem of local residents of Nakar of being isolated, especially during rainy seasons or when natural calamities occur, such as flashfloods and rain-induced landslides. (Manny Galvez)


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