Heritage advocate wants 90-year-old Negros Occidental bridge saved
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — A heritage advocate has called for the preservation of a 90-year-old steel bridge that connects San Carlos City and Calatrava town in northern Negros Occidental.
Andoni Llantada Valencia said the Talave Bridge has to be preserved as it played a vital role in the economic development of the two localities, including the transport of sugarcane from plantations to sugar mills.
The 100-meter Talave steel bridge, which crosses the Talave River, was built in 1933 by the United Sates Steel Products Co., based on the marker installed by the builder at the foot of the bridge.
“There is no need to destroy the original and sturdy bridge. In fact, it can be converted to a tourist site of Negros because of its beauty and historical significance,” he said in an interview on July 19.
San Carlos Mayor Renato Gustilo on Wednesday said the old bridge was being replaced by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) because the structure was no longer passable, unsafe and in danger of collapsing.
According to the mayor, he favored the demolition of the bridge as it was not on the list of historical heritage sites of San Carlos City and was not a potential tourist attraction.
He said parts of the bridge could instead be preserved and reassembled elsewhere in San Carlos as an attraction.
The bridge traverses the river that divides two sugarcane plantations—the Hacienda San Vicente of Ledesma Hermanos in San Carlos and Hacienda Refugio of Menchaca Integrated Agricultural Corp. (formerly Menchaca Hermanos) in Calatrava.
Valencia said the bridge had withstood the test of time, even during the World War II.
“We should not allow that the bridge [to] be another casualty of destruction because of ignorance and lack of historical appreciation from our current political leaders,” he said.
“This is to call on the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the local government units of San Carlos City and Calatrava to issue an order on the Department of Public Works and Highways, to stop its current operations that will eventually destroy the bridge to pave the way of the new bridge,” he added.