An aerial view of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge connecting the Mactan Island to mainland Cebu. Police have deployed more personnel at the vicinities of the three major bridges, including this one, after they have apparently become favorite "suicide spots" lately.
Joy Torrejos
More cops patrol ‘suicide bridges’
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - August 20, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — With bridges apparently becoming “favorite spots” of depressed people to harm themselves, Police Regional Office-7 chief Debold Sinas has ordered more patrolmen to be deployed in these areas.

Sinas issued the directive after the death of a 16-year-old Cebuano football player believed to have jumped to death off the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge dawn Sunday.

Sinas said the three major bridges in Cebu – the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge, the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, and the Cansaga Bridge -- are now being patrolled by more policemen.

“We see that the bridges are becoming their favorite spots. Immediately last night, we deployed more cops there, in the middle of the two bridges. That’s why you may be seeing some blinkers,” Sinas told reporters in Cebuano yesterday.

The policemen, he added, start their nightly patrols at 9 o’clock. His instructions to them was to light their blinkers to signal people that cops are stationed there.

“So that if ever someone jumps, they will know there are policemen. And those people around, they can alert the police if the latter are visible,” Sinas said.

The PRO-7 chief has also called on the public to coordinate with the police by reporting possible suicide attempts.

“To the public, please help us. Please inform us right away, because it’s really a waste of life,” he said.

Sinas revealed that the family of the Cebuano varsity football player, a member of the national team who leaped from the bridge Sunday, was going through a “family problem,” although they did not elaborate on it.

“He really jumped. The family, according to the city police director, already accepted that there was a family problem,” he said.

Sinas said there was no sign of foul play found on the teen’s body.

Mental health

In a related development, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has vowed to open a room at the new Cebu City Medical Center that will address mental health concerns. This, once the facility becomes operational by next year.

At a press conference yesterday, the mayor said mental health issues are a concern of both families and the government, adding that they should work together to prevent suicide incidents because of depression, among others.

“That’s why as I’ve said, our CCMC, when it will be fully operational, we will have that space there that there should be portion devoted for the examination of some, especially our young people and families,” he said.

Labella said he was deeply “saddened” by the death of the 16-year-old Cebuano member of the national football team who was reportedly suffering from depression.

He also said the families, especially the parents, have to look after their children, especially if they see signs already.

“This underscores two things; first is the role of families, parents towards their children…in guiding them. Second is that this also highlights the fact that there is really a need to look into the mental health of our citizenry,” he said.

He said he will also check if the city has an ordinance covering mental health issues. (FREEMAN)

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