Settlers delay Talisay bridge rehab for 2 years
Iris Mariani B. Algabre (The Freeman) - March 14, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The rehabilitation of the Mananga Bridge in Barangay Tabunok, Talisay City is behind schedule by around two years now owing to illegal settlers.

Exasperated by the delay caused by informal settlers living under the Mananga Bridge, the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas has sought the assistance of the city government.

The DPWH said the P47-milion rehabilitation project will not commence unless informal settlers are moved out of the community that mushroomed under the bridge.

“Dili man gyud matrabaho kay mahagsaan unya ang mga residente sa ubos. We will take care of it (project) once ma-clear ang area,” said lawyer Jerone Castillo, DPWH legal counsel.

Engineer Lydia Reyes, operations manager of Zion Construction, said the bridge needs immediate repair, stressing that the structural integrity or stability of its pillars is already weak.

The Mananga Bridge was constructed sometime in 1980s.

“Needed nga bungkagon kay naa nay cracks delikado na gyud siya,” she said.

She said they were able to start the rehabilitation which was later discontinued due to the presence of illegal settlers.

“We can’t push through with the project, especially the excavation, because the debris from the bridge might injure the residents,” she said.

Castillo said the nine-month project was supposed to end in November 2016.

“It’s too difficult sa pagpahawa sa illegal settlers. It’s now up to the local government to take care of their relocation site,” he said.

Personnel from the City Engineering Office, City Social Welfare Development, DPWH, and Zion Construction, the contractor of the project, are set to visit the area today to check and assess the exact number of affected residents.

Last year, it was reported that 15 families are affected by the project.

The city government has already set aside a property in Barangay Dumlog, a coastal village, as a relocation site.

Affected residents were also given financial assistance.

But the residents still refused to leave the area and allegedly used up the aid.  They received P1,500 from the city and another P1,500 from the DPWH.

The settlers reportedly want a bigger relocation site.

"Kun in kaso papahawaon, among gusto naa relocation. Naa relocation sa Dumlog pero gamay kaayo. Lisod sudlon sa kagamay. Maglisud mi puyo unya naa mi mga anak," said the 38-year-old Salima Villarino.

Villarino has been living under the bridge for decades.

Dr. Jomar Rubio, Talisay executive assistant, said he will discuss the matter with Mayor Eduardo Gullas. (FREEMAN)

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