MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Benigno Aquino III on Monday inaugurated a P600-million bridge in Cagayan partially funded under the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Aquino led the ceremonial unveiling of a marker on the bridge located in Tuao town, named after his slain father, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino III.
The 300-meter Ninoy Aquino bridge connects the Cagayan Valley Region to the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), particularly to the provinces of Kalinga and Apayao.
In a text message to Palace reporters, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Manuel Mamba, former Cagayan congressman, said P145 million used for the bridge came from the DAP.
Last month, the Supreme Court struck down certain acts under the government’s DAP as unconstitutional, including the declaration of unobligated and unprogrammed funds as savings, the transfers of savings from one government branch to another, and the funding of projects not stated in the national budget.
Malacañang has appealed the SC’s DAP ruling, maintaining the stimulus program was undertaken in good faith.
Mamba earlier said that the Ninoy Aquino bridge was built to replace an earlier “overflow bridge” which was usually destroyed during typhoons.
“Kapag lumaki na ‘yung Chico River [in Cagayan] ay nasisira at marooned na kami. Hindi na kami makalabas. Ito nga ‘yung permanent na. Kahit na bumagyo man, kahit magkabaha-baha man dito sa amin, hindi na aabutan itong bridge na ito,” Mamba said on Saturday in an interview over state-run radio
He added that the bridge is expected to boost economic activities between the two regions.
“Grabeng pakinabang ang nakukuha ng mga tao namin dito. At the same time, ina-anticipate namin ‘yung ekonomiya na talagang lalakas. Furthermore, ‘yung mga area rin dito na dati-rati ay hindi pa sementado, halos sementado na rin lahat,” Mamba said. (MNS)