Antique still cut off from the rest of Panay

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VITAL LINK The Paliwan Bridge, a vital link between the ancient province and Aklan province to the north, has yet to be restored two weeks after the onslaught of the severe tropical storm “Paeng” (international name: Nalgae) , making the transport of goods and the movement of people difficult. —PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSHUA VALMONTE

CITY OF ILOILO—The province of Antique remained cut off from its neighboring provinces on Panay Island two weeks after severe tropical storm “Paeng” (international name: Nalgae) destroyed two major bridges.

The provincial government had to use barge services to deliver goods and other supplies, such as fuel, to Antique.

Governor Rhodora Cadiao said the situation in the province is not expected to return to normal soon after a section of the Paliwan Bridge collapsed due to raging water.

The bridge connected the city of Laua-an to the north and the city of Bugasong to the south. Without it, people would not be able to directly reach the neighboring province of Aklan, located north of Antique.

Paeng also severely damaged the Oyungan Bridge, which is Antique’s gateway to Iloilo Province via the Iloilo towns of Miag-ao and San Joaquin. Those going to Antique from Miag-ao can cross the Oyungan Bridge, but only on foot, bicycle or motorbike.

“Until [all types of] vehicles can pass through Paliwan and Oyungan [bridges]there will never be normalcy here,” Cadiao told the Inquirer on Thursday.

Fuel inventory

Currently, three barges transport fuel as well as commodities from Iloilo City and Iloilo Province to Antique on a weekly basis.

Cadiao said they were renting another houseboat at the request of business owners in the provincial capital of San Jose de Buenavista. The barge should arrive and be operational on November 13.

The governor said renting barges was difficult as it required permits from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and the Philippine Coast Guard, among others.

Antique still cut off from the rest of Panay

NO HEAVY VEHICLES People queue as they cross the Oyungan Bridge in this photo from November 4. The bridge, which connects Antique to Iloilo province, was closed to heavy vehicles due to damage it sustained during the severe tropical storm “Paeng”. Bicycles and motorbikes are also allowed to cross the bridge. —PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTIQUE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

Gas stations, which had initially ceased operations due to damage from Paeng, reopened after barges arrived with stocks of fuel. Their owners agreed not to raise prices after discussing the issue with provincial and municipal officials.

A tank barge would also be brought to the Port of San Jose de Buenavista to store fuel and supply smaller gas stations, pending approval from the marina, the Bureau of Fire Protection and other government agencies.

Cadiao said President Marcos had pledged to donate 350 million pesos to build a new bridge to replace the 48-year-old Paliwan Bridge. The president did not mention the repair of the Oyungan bridge.

An additional 178 million pesos would also be released to help farmers in the province. At least 7 million pesos would be donated to the Provincial Veterinary Bureau while the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had earmarked 200 million pesos in sari-sari store wrappers for typhoon survivors.

Paeng hit the Philippines on October 29, 2022, triggering flash floods and landslides that killed at least 158 ​​people, according to the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Among the deaths, 36 were recorded in the Western Visayas provinces. INQ

RELATED STORY:

Bongbong Marcos leads aid distribution in ancient cities affected by Paeng

Responding to calls for help, the Inquirer is expanding its relief efforts to families affected by Typhoon Paeng. Cash donations can be deposited into the Inquirer Foundation Corp. checking account. Banco De Oro (BDO): 007960018860 and via Maya

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