CABANATUAN CITY, May 14 (PIA) -- Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) opened a bridge that will be essential to the rehabilitation of the 44,000-hectare Pantabangan-Caranglan Watershed (PCW).
The 60-meter reinforced concrete deck girder bridge in sitio Pamalayan in barangay Conversion, Pantabangan town will also serve as a vital connection linking the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya.
DENR Regional Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr. said the PhP24 million-bridge was funded by JICA as an agroforestry support facility in the 10-year Forest Land Management Project (FMP) in the PCW.
It is connected to the 3.7-kilometer farm-to-market road in barangay Conversion which was likewise backed by JICA and constructed last year.
"This 60-meter bridge crossing the Diaman river will be of great help not just in the rehabilitation of the watershed, but in bringing government services closer to the communities where they are needed. This bridge benefits more than 350 upland farmers and their families, connecting them to needed health and other public services," he explained.
"The completion of this infrastructure is one of DENR's strong commitments to uplift the socio-economic well-being of local communities while conserving and protecting the watershed," Moreno furthered.
Mayor Roberto Agdipa accepted the responsibility over the bridge in behalf of the municipal government of Pantabangan, and expressed his appreciation to DENR and JICA.
"The bridge will not only serve as a simple access point, but as a farm-to-market road and a way to open up remote areas as ecotourism destinations, bringing countless benefits to the communities," he said.
Launched in 2012, FMP has already rehabilitated 14,133 hectares of denuded forest lands in PCW.
It that aims to rehabilitate the PCW, one of the biggest protected areas in Central Luzon, through collaborative and comprehensive community-based forest management strategies. (CLJD-PIA 3)