By May next year, children from the mountain barangays of Bonbon and Buot-Taup in Cebu City will no longer have to wade through a deep river to go to school.
Work is about to start on a two-lane bridge in sitio Camarin, Bonbon.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday led the groundbreaking ceremony for the P12 million bridge which is expcted to be completed by May.
“Children will no longer make rain a reason not to go to school. It’s very dangerous for children to cross the river. Finally our dreams for a bridge will be realized,” said Armando Tanghana, a resident of sitio Gila-Gila, Bonbon.
When Cebu Daily News reported the lack of a bridge in its Aug. 16, 2010 issue (“Bonbon bridge still a dream”), the front page photo showed pupils in their uniforms wading in knee-deep water to reach the other side of the river.
Residents said they had struggled with this difficulty for generations.
A P15 million outlay for a bridge would have solved it with a 2008 national budget appropriation sponsored by Cebu City Congressman Antonio Cuenco of the south district but the budget was realigned due to a political conflict.
The city mayor at the time, Tomas Osmeña, who was at odds with Cuenco, had the national project realigned so funds went to build another bridge in barangay Tabunan in the north district. At the time, Osmena said it was not practical to spend millions for a small barangay like buot Taup.
The new bridge being built in Bonbon is funded by the Cebu City government.
During Rama’s administration, it was included in the 5th supplemental budget in a 2010 council resolution sponsored by Councilors Jose Daluz III and Margot Osmeña, wife of the former mayor.
“We are very thankful,” said barangay worker Presencia Pacana, 55. She said residents no longer have to take a raft and pay P20 to cross the river.
Bonbon’s 5,000 residents and 2,000 others in Buot-Taup,who have to cross three rivers, will benefit from the bridge said Bonbon barangay captain Alexander Ibarita Sr.
The Bonbon bridge will be a gateway to other bridges that will connect the mountain barangays.
A P7 million bridge in Buot-Taup is next on the priority list. The project will be bidded out next month.
“That and the third bridge will complete the series. People will no longer have to cross the river. This is very important for the people because this place is getting busier,” said Councilor Daluz.
Mayor Rama told CDN: “In implementing projects we should not select beneficiaries based on the number of voters. A small barangay needs to be connected to a bigger barangay.”
Rama’s allies, Councilors Daluz and Edgar Labella attended yesterday’s ceremony with barangay captains of Buot Taup and Bonbon, and congressional candidate Aristotle Batuhan. Cuenco, the original proponent of the project was also invited.