Public Works Secretary Mark Villar on Tuesday ordered the fast-tracking of assessment of roads and other infrastructures in Pampanga damaged by the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon on Monday.
Villar arrived in the province to personally see the extent of damage caused by the tremor and instructed Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 3 (Central Luzon) Director Roseller Tolentino to conduct the rapid assessment on damages in the affected areas.
The DPWH chief first inspected the Consuelo Bridge in Floridablanca town that has been closed to traffic due to damage on abutment A.
“We will fast-track this,” Villar said as he saw that the damage on the bridge was not structural.
He said he expects the repair of the damaged portion of the bridge to be finished within two to three days.
“The assessment team is coming and so far, hindi naman substantial ang damage (the damage is not substantial) and hopefully, by today, it would be passable to light vehicles,” Villar said.
“But of course, we are going to assess it first,” he added, citing the importance of safety.
Villar likewise said his department is ready to help the local government units (LGUs) in rehabilitating the damaged structures, such as the old churches in the province.
“That’s why we are here, we are ready to help the LGUs and address the concerns on public infrastructures,” he said.
Floridablanca Mayor Darwin Manalansan, likewise, said the bridge is vital not only for quarry trucks but also vehicles coming from Clark and Baguio going to Bataan, Olongapo City, and Zambales.
Also damaged by the earthquake are the Lubao Road; the Sasmuan-Lubao Bridge, which is passable only to light vehicles; and the Megadike Access Road, which is closed to traffic from Barangay Dolores to Barangay Calibutbut in Bacolor town.
After the inspection of the damaged bridge, Sec. Villar visited the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket.
“We will conduct first forensic analysis. Of course, we have a concern. To think it is new, which was constructed only four years ago. We would like to determine why the building, which houses the Chuzon Supermarket, collapsed,” he said.
So far, four persons have been confirmed dead, nine have been rescued and 19 others remain trapped inside the rubble.
Villar, together with other DPWH officials, likewise visited the Sta. Catalina Church in Porac town whose bell tower has been damaged. (PNA)