MAASIN CITY-The long-cherished dream of residents of an upland community in Maasin City to safely cross a river in Barangay San Jose has finally been realized.

“Dihay kausa naglubong mi, naghatod mi og patay sa sementeryo, hapit maanod ang lungon pagtabok namo sa suba kay kusog ang sug,” recalled San Jose Punong Barangay Jay Guinoo.

(There was one time we buried a dead person in the cemetery across the river. With the rampaging waters we had to cross, the strong river current almost swept away the coffin.)
The barangay cemetery lies on the other side of the river, and holding a funeral when it is raining is risky.

The San Jose bridge was formally inaugurated on Friday, March 8, following the blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony. With the project’s completion, the dangerous moments of burying the dearly departed will be a thing of the past, a scene no longer repeated.

But more than a significant factor for careful, proper handling of the dead, the people living in the vicinities—passing motorists, passengers, and traders—benefit best from the new infrastructure, even during inclement weather when the river gets rough.

Ludivina Orais, a retired teacher, affirmed that the bridge is a big help to the residents in their daily routine, allowing them to move more easily.

“I thank our officials for making this project a reality,” she said.

At the brief inauguration ceremony in the Barangay San Jose gym, District Engineer Manolo Rojas of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Southern Leyte District Engineering Office said as much, stressing that access and connectivity are a big deal for rural folks in the other higher barangays in San Rafael, for example, where he once lived as a child.

“The new bridge served as the alternate road to that of the existing one, which is prone to landslides, and so the flow of goods and delivery of basic government services can pass all the time to other upland barangays,” Rojas said.

Gov. Damian Mercado cited the bridge “as something that all people can make full use of, a big impact project,” while Rep. Luz Mercado referred to it as a “lifeline for better days ahead.”

Several provincial officials, city, and municipal mayors attended the inauguration rites, including former representative and DPWH Secretary Roger Mercado.

Mercado’s leadership fund was the source of the project’s budget, amounting to P49.5 million.

Based on technical details, the San Jose bridge is a three-span Reinforced Concrete Deck Girder (RCDG) design, supported by two abutments standing on a robust pile foundation, with railings for pedestrian safety, and having a length of 162 meters.
(MMP, PIA Southern Leyte)