New DPWH 11 chief assumes amid Bangkerohan bridge delay

Jenny Juezan, DPWH 11 public information officer, announced the appointment Wednesday of former DPWH Central Visayas regional director Jerome dela Rosa.

Juezan said Dela Rosa still could not comment on the status of the bridge as he still has to warm up his seat for now.

But Juezan said funding for the bridge, which was earlier reported to be among the causes of the delay, is not a problem.

"House Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles (1st district, Davao City) has already vouched for its funding," she said.

The reconstruction of the 56-year-old bridge, which was closed in April after one of its piers gave way, was considered urgent by the local government.

Councilor Peter Laviña, chair of the city council committee on trade and commerce, told MindaNews in September it should be the priority as it is the biggest concern of the city at the moment.

Earlier, it was announced that the bridge would be built under the Tulay ng Pangulo Program, noted for building pre-fabricated steel bridges.

The materials had been transported from Manila, then assembly was started soon after, but was stopped and the materials are now stored in DPWH warehouses.

City officials and liaisons to the President from Mindanao proposed a stronger, concrete bridge, which sent the process back to square one for planning in Manila.

Based on earlier announcements, the construction of the bridge should be done by December, but construction has not started yet as of press time.

Juezan said Wednesday they already conducted a bidding last week. A bidding was reportedly attempted last month but yielded no qualified bidders.

The DPWH, he said, knows the importance of the bridge to the city's economy.

"Gov. Generoso bridge is vital in the daily economic activities of Davao City as it serves as one of the major access roads going in and out of the city and a major component of the Davao road network," former DPWH regional director Dimas Soguilon said in April as quoted by the DPWH website.

The city government gave the agency eight months to finish the bridge from April to December.

Soguilon then concurred "if funds are available". Last month, Nograles was quoted as saying President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has allotted P230 million for the project.

Before that, DPWH regional officials failed to assure city councilors the bridge reconstruction was already on course.