— John Nery (@jnery_newsstand) February 24, 2015
MANILA — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang on Tuesday said it will take at least six months to complete the Tukalinapao Bridge in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao.
The bridge, which will replace the rickety bamboo footbridge spanning the river and the cornfields where 44 Special Action Force members were killed during the operation which neutralized Malaysian bomber Zulkipli bin Hir last Jan. 25, is worth Php10-million.
“(Contractors) said it will take them six months as they need to put up the foundation first. It needs to be completed before the rainy season. Actually, once the foundation is constructed, the railings and steel portion of the bridge can easily be set up,” Catapang said in Filipino.
He also assured the military is more than capable of securing the bridge as attested by the serious beating the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters sustained during the month-long law enforcement operations against the BIFF.
Around 151 BIFF men were killed, 65 wounded and 12 captured on the campaign which started Feb. 25.
Ten soldiers were killed while another 33 were hurt in the said campaign.
“Violence has stopped because they have realized that we are stronger than them and they will have a hard time (should they initiate hostilities anew).
Catapang on Monday terminated the law enforcement operations against the BIFF but said pursuit operations will continue against the bandit splinter groups.
Aside from the bridge, the government is planning to set up various development projects in Mamasapano, including an irrigation system.