To get to school, children of barangay Bonbon and Buot Taup in the uplands of Cebu City get their feet wet.
They roll up their pants when the river rises or slosh through ankle deep water when the weather is good.
Crossing the river on foot or taking a raft for P10 per person are the only options for mountain residents. It’s a dangerous trek when the rainy season can turn the waterway into an eight-foot-deep flashflood.
Sometimes classes are suspended, just to avoid an accidental drowning.
Two years after their plight was reported in Cebu Daily News’ front page (Aug. 16, 2010 issue “Bonbon bridge still a dream”), the Cebu city government under Mayor Michael Rama on Friday broke ground to start construction of a P12 million bridge.
The bridge is scheduled for completion in May 2013, the same month local elections will test Rama’s reelection bid against a political comeback of former mayor and incumbent Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district who wants to recapture City Hall.
Another P7 million bridge project for Buot Taup will be bidded out by City Hall next month.
What took so long to address this safety issue?
CDN earlier reported how Osmeña, who was then city mayor, had an earlier national budget for the Bonbon bridge under the 2010 General Appropriations Act “realigned” or transferred to build another bridge in barangay Tabunan in the north district.
The change of beneficiary had to do with political loyalties. The barangay captains were not his allies. Neither was the south district congressman Antonio Cuenco.
Politics aside, a bridge has been urgently needed in this mountain crossing for decades in Bonbon (population 5,000) and Buot Taup (2,000) as a gateway to a series of bridges to connect the mountain barangays of Cebu City.
A bridge will keep the school children safe.
Should the solution have to wait longer?