BONTOC, Mountain Province – Local officials and residents of this landlocked province expressed their gratitude to Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. for his timely intervention in facilitating the temporary use of some private properties in Sabangan detour route for vehicles going in and out of the province in the meantime that the permanent bridge across the Chico river is not finished.
The local officials claim that if not for the timely intervention of Gov. Lacwasan in convincing the property owners Wayway de Castro in the Sabangan side and Robert Dacyon in the Bontoc side, the Halsema highway would have remained closed to vehicular traffic until now. The temporary bridge was washed away at the height of Supertyphoon Lawin resulting to motorists and commuters suffering from tremendous inconvenience as passengers from both sides of the river had to transfer by foot, tramline, or balsa, just to be able to reach their desired destinations inside and outside the province.
Lacwasan, who was attending some important engagements in Metro Manila, took time out from his hectic schedules and motored to Baguio City to meet with the concerned parties, including representatives of the Mountain Province Engineering District, for the early resolution of the detour road at Nacagang, Tambingan, Sabangan.
“We were alarmed over the situation that the Halsema highway remained closed to vehicular traffic for more than a week after Typhoon Lawin. Our constituents have been suffering from the inconvenience brought about by the situation that is why we tried our best to get in touch with the concerned land owners and the engineering officials to discuss how to solve the impasse,”Lacwasan stressed.
During their meeting in Baguio, it was learned from Mr. Dacyon and Ms. Grace Wayway de Castro that their properties will only be used as a detour road for only 365 days from November 2013 to November 2014 pending the completion of the permanent bridge. Despite the absence of a formal request from the public works department, and only through the pleadings of former project engineers Guisalo and Eminga, they acceded to it being for use of the general public and as good citizens of the province.
Lacwasan emphasized Dacyon and de Castro allowed the use of their lots without expecting any remuneration since it was for public use and at that time, only for a year.
However, the permanent bridge was never completed in November 2014 until now, while the temporary bridge through the Dacyon and De Castro family was washed away by Lawin.
During the meeting, Mountain Province District Engineer Wilbur Likigan confirmed that no remuneration was ever offered or was given to the lot owners since no funds were allotted by the department for the said purpose.
However, Likigan assured the affected land owners that he will try to source out funds to compensate for the use of the private lots. This was accepted by the concerned land owners paving the way for the re-opening of the detour bridge that normalized travel inside and outside the province.
Lacwasan, who is the chairman of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), expressed his sincere gratitude to both Dacyon and de Castro for allowing their lots to accommodate the detour bridge from 2013 up to the present, saying that their continuous sacrifice in allowing the free use of their properties is a philanthropic act worthy of emulation by other people in the province.
He appealed to the people and officials of the province not to criticize the lot owners for initially not allowing their properties to be used for the detour bridge due to unresolved issues but now that they allowed the use of their properties, everyone must move on for the overall development of the province.
“What is important now is we were able to work out a win-win solution to the problem that could have resulted in the isolation of some areas of the province. We want all parties to be satisfied with our intervention that is why we appeal to our provincemates to start working together for the welfare of the greater majority,”Lacwasan stressed.
At present, the Mountain Province Engineering District is working on the detour bridge while motorists have to use the backfilled portion of the Chico river as a temporary route to travel in and out of the province.