Ms. Viel Aquino-Dee, the Presidents’ sister, together with Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin led the inauguration of the P191.3 million Aluling Bridge here Thursday.
“Ngayong tapos na ang Aluling bridge, hindi na po muling mailalagay sa bingit ng alanganin ang libu-libo nating kababayan. Ngayon, malakas man ang ulan, at tumaas man ang ilog, ligtas na makakatawid ang mga kababayan natin dahil sa tulay na ito,” the President said in a message read by his sister.
“Ang mga produktong dati ay bumababa ang halaga dahil natatagtag at nabubulok sa mahabang biyahe, ngayon ay mailalako sa merkado sa tama at angkop na presyo. At siyempre, ang mga turista na dati ay nahihirapang pumasok sa Cervantes, ngayon ay mas mae-engganyong bumisita sa Gambang Falls at sa Yamashita Cave,” the President said.
Considered the longest bridge in the Philippines not in terms of length but in terms of the number of years it took to complete, the 180-meter Aluling bridge was completed by the Aquino administration after 35 years under the administration’s “daang matuwid” reform agenda.
“Simple lamang po ang mandato naming mga lingkod-bayan: Ang ibigay ang inyong pangangailangan, sa pinakatapat, pinakamabilis, at pinakatamang paraan. Mapa-ospital man o tulay, paaralan man o pagkakataong pangkabuhayan— kapag may hinaing ang sambayanan, ora mismo, dapat nandiyan ang pamahalaan,” the President said.
The project was conceptualized in 1978 as a five span Reinforced Concrete Deck Girder type bridge funded by the DPWH through a multi-year building initiative. However, the project suffered a snag in 1990 due to massive flooding.
In 1999, the DPWH restarted the project with a plan to construct the bridge on another portion of the Abra River. The Aluling bridge and approaches involve the construction of a 180-m bridge across Abra River connecting Ilocos Sur and Tadian, Mountain Province.
Thirty-five years after its conceptualization in 1978, the project has finally been completed on March 25, 2013.
The completion of the bridge allows faster and safer movement of people, goods, and products between Regions I and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), benefiting around 1,247 motorists per day.
The completion of the bridge cuts the average travel time between Cervantes, Ilocos Sur and Tadian, Mountain Province from one hour to 30 minutes.
The bridge will also support the trade and tourism sectors in Cervantes, as it trades its products with Mt. Province, La Union and Baguio City.
Dubbed as the summer capital of Ilocos Sur, Cervantes’s major tourist attractions include the Bessang Pass Natural Landmark, Gambang Falls, Yamashita Cave and the Municipal Tree Park. (MNS)