COLLAPSED. Part of the Latazon hanging bridge that collapsed and injured three persons on June 15, 2022. Laua-an Mayor-elect Aser Baladjay said in an interview Wednesday (June 22, 2022) that he will be seeking fund to construct a concrete bridge in Barangay Latazon in his municipality. (Photo courtesy of Arlene Pedro) 

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The mayor-elect of the Municipality of Laua-an is seeking funding for the construction of a new concrete bridge to replace the old hanging bridge that collapsed on June 15, 2022 and injured three persons.

Mayor-elect Aser Baladjay said in an interview Wednesday that he will ask the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) if the proposed concrete bridge will be provided with funding since Barangay Latazon was once a rebel infested area.

"We had presence of the New People’s Army (NPA) as well as sympathizers before in Barangay Latazon and in about 14 more barangays in the municipality," he said.

He added that the bridge was identified on the list of priority projects that was endorsed to the office of Antique solon and now senator-elect Loren Legarda and the provincial government.

Antique Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao has already directed Provincial Engineer Inocencio Dajao to inspect the collapsed hanging bridge and make a report about it.

"If it would be found out that the bridge is substandard and had been constructed by the Provincial Government through a contractor, I will have the contractor banned from joining future biddings of the province," Cadiao said in a separate interview.

Cadiao further said that the Antique Provincial Board is also conducting its own investigation in aid of legislation.

Meanwhile, the provincial government will be extending PHP15,000 Aid to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) to the staff of the Department of Trade and Industry, one of the three injured persons who happened to be passing on the bridge when it collapsed.

The injured staff, John Michael Villavert, obtained facial and cranial injuries when pinned by the steel mat of the hanging bridge and had to undergo surgery at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

The two others, who are on-the-job trainees of the DTI will be subjected to assessment by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) to determine the amount of assistance that will be given to them. (PNA)