ARTECHE, Eastern Samar– The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has finally completed the construction of the new permanent Bigo Bridge viaduct that will address the road closures during flooding in the portion of the Arteche-Jipapad-Las Navas road in Barangay Bigo, Arteche.

Elena Mengullo, 68, a resident of Barangay Bigo said that flooding has always been a problem in the area for decades.

“Tikang pagmata ko asya na it dida, nauran ngani hin makusog nagbabaha it dida, diri nama nakakaagi it sarakyan pakadto or tikang Jipapad kun hataas an tubig,” Mengullo said.
(Flooding during heavy rains has already been a problem there ever since I was born. Vehicles can not pass when floodwater is too high.)

“Danay an iba naghihimo nala hin paagi, iginsasakay ha baluto an ira motor o ginsasakay ha mga saging ngani nga ginhihigot,” Mengullo added.

(Some people make alternatives just to cross the flood such as transporting their motorcycles on small boats or a makeshift floater made of tied banana trunks.)

On behalf of the people of Jipapad, Councilor Julian Engo conveyed his gratitude to the government, saying that all Jipapadnons accept the project with happiness.

“Ura-ura in hin kadako nga bulig ha amon ha Jipapad, diri la ha Jipapad kundi ug mga sapit nga bungto ngan iba nga bungto han Northern Samar kan danay dinhi hira mamamalit hin ira kinahanglanon ha aton probinsya,” Engo said.

(This is a huge help to us all in Jipapad, and not only in Jipapad but also to our nearby municipalities even to some town in Northern Samar because they sometimes buy their needs here in our province.)

“Ini nga tulay nagsi-signify in hin pagsalbar liwat hin mga kinabuhi, labi ha amon didi ha Jipapad nga kami in prone hiton baha. Kay ha kamatuoran kun bahaon an Jipapad nahiuuna in humilarom an tubig ini dinhi nga lugar. So, paano kami mare-rescue han am mga relief goods, kun dinhi la mismo tutubtob an tambulig han gobyerno,” Engo said.

(This bridge has been a real lifesaver for us living in Jipapad, especially as our area is prone to flooding. In fact, this portion in Bigo was the first to be submerged during previous floods, making it difficult for relief goods and government services to reach us.)

Meanwhile, Engr. Margarita Junia, assistant regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways, expressed her happiness that finally the viaduct is now finished.

She also mentioned that the road closures in Eastern Samar due to flooding were among the challenges she faced when she first assumed office and the Bigo bridge project was one of her priority projects.

She recalled that sometime in 2021, a three-day incessant heavy downpour resulted in flooding and road closures all over Eastern Samar and upon her visits to the flooded areas, the Arteche-Jipapad road section in Bigo was the deepest with almost 6 meters in floodwaters.

“This is not the only project for Jipapad. We already submitted a proposal converting the Jipapad-Imelda-Lapinig road to a national road and approved LGU Jipapad’s request of dredging the river to temporarily prevent flooding in Jipapad,” Junia added.

The assistant regional director further shared that planning for a long-term solution on the flooding in Jipapad is now underway.

Meanwhile, Eastern Samar Representative Maria Fe Abunda urged the residents to take good care of the infrastructure.

“Diri ngatanan natatagan hin sugad hini nga proyekto, higugma-a in niyo, kay hi kamo it masyado nabebenipisyuhan hini ngan diri hi Congresswoman Abunda mag-aamkon hin mga proyekto, kay diri ini hit ak pamilya, ini ngatanan kwarta in hit gobyerno, kwarta in hit tawo,” Abunda added.

(Not all receives this kind of project, take good care of it, because you will greatly benefit from this. Also, this project is not mine, nor my family’s, the money came from the government, the money came from the taxpayers.)

District Engineer Domcelio Natividad mentioned that the Bigo Bridge is one of the high-impact projects in Eastern Samar particularly on the economic and social development of Arteche, Jipapad, and nearby municipalities in Eastern Samar. This is aside from the hardships that motorists face during rainy seasons.

“Maiibanan it aton problema, especially kun rainy season comes kay ini nga section, iton tubig, diri basta-basta na-subside. It takes days, depende kun ano it karaot hit panahon. Submerged talaga ini hiya hit flooding, it aton mga motorista nagbibiling hadto hin burubaloto para makatabok,” Domcelio said.

(This will lessen the problem especially when the rainy season comes because the voluminous waters caused flooding, which did not subside easily. It takes several days, depending on the severity of the weather. This area was heavily flooded, forcing motorists to transport their motorcycles via motorboat.)

The district engineer also shared that the new Bigo Bridge is 80-meter in length with an allocation of P100 million and was funded under the General Appropriation Act (GAA) 2022. The project was implemented to address road closures caused by heavy rainfall and flooding in the area.
(VTG, PIA Eastern Samar)