The provincial government of Ilocos Norte has coordinated with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Museum, and the Department of Public Works and Highways to stop the demolition of the 200-year old bridge Puente de Barit.
Social media had drawn attention to road development projects of the DPWH Ilocos Norte 1st Engineering District, which include the demolition and replacement of the Puente de Barit that was built during the Spanish era.
Republic Act No. 10066 mandates the protection of heritage structures such as Puente de Barit.
“It’s very unfortunate that incidents like this happen, especially in our province where culture and heritage are sources of livelihood for a lot of people. The bridge in Barit is an important heritage structure for the province,” said Provincial Tourism Officer Aianree Raquel.
The partial demolition of Puente de Barit drew different reactions from Ilocano netizens, with many calling for its preservation.
“It is very important for people to be aware. We should make the business of heritage conservation more approachable and relatable to the general population,” Raquel said.
“The provincial government will work with national cultural agencies and the DPWH so that we can really finally resolve and determine what to do with the heritage bridges that are along our highways,” he added.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar has already ordered the DPWH Ilocos Norte 1st Engineering District to stop the demolition, while NCCA, NHCP, and National Museum will send experts to assess the damage and take proper action.