After receiving a lot of flak from netizens about the planned demolition and replacement of the historic Ysalina Bridge, the Cagayan de Oro City Planning Development Office (CPDO) has clarified that it is still a “proposed project”.
As such, Ramir M. Balquin EnP, CPDO Department Manager, stressed revisions or improvements are still possible based on the outcome or results of the social and environmental impact assessment that the proposed agency, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), will conduct with the stakeholders, in a process that will be governed by DENR and other national government offices like the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
“Actually, it’s all in the hands of the DPWH to undertake the social and environmental impact assessment,” he emphasized.
Balquin noted the DPWH-X office already briefed Mayor Rolando “Klarex” Uy on the project, and also conducted two consultation meetings with the DPWH representatives (led by Engr Ben Caliao) and CDO department managers from the RTA, CEO, CPDO, Office of the City Administrator, OBO, and City Tourism.
“I would like to emphasize that the technical rationale behind the proposed replacement of the bridge was presented again by the DPWH engineers including the presentation of the alternative designs of the replacement bridge,” Balquin said in an online interview.
“Subsequently, the alternative designs of the bridge replacement were presented by the CDO department managers to the mayor for him to choose from among the proposed designs. The mayor decided on the bridge design based on the technical presentation and other considerations that was presented and discussed with him,” he added.
The project has reportedly also been reviewed and endorsed by the Regional Development Council Region X (RDC-10) Infrastructure & Utilities Committee (Infracom).
The Ysalina bridge project was included in the DPWH X budget proposal amounting to P1-billion for FY 2024 and was endorsed by both the Infracom and the RDC-10 Full Council last March 9, 2023, and March 24, 2023, respectively.
“DPWH- X has conducted 2 consultations and more consultations if included in the NEP for 2024. The National Heritage concerning preservation of design was already consulted. DPWH – X is considering suggestions of the National Heritage. This is a new construction,” the RDC-10 Infracom secretariat said.
Oro Netizens blast project
However, Kagay-anon netizens have taken to social media to condemn the plan to demolish the Governor Paciencio Ysalina Bridge across the Cagayan River and replace it with a modern four-lane bridge.
In a video posted online by the City Information Office on July 6, 2023, Balquin claimed that Mayor Rolando “Klarex” Uy said that the nearly 100-year old Ysalina bridge across City Hall “will eventually have to go.”
Balquin said “experts” had recommended the demolition of the structure which has become an icon of Cagayan de Oro for safety reasons considering its age.
He urged residents to see the need to balance development with “our historical and cultural sense,” to determine what really is the direction of the city’s future development.
However, he also said Cagayan de Oro City probably has the most number of bridges across the Cagayan River compared to other cities in Mindanao.
Kagay-anons from all over the globe have responded negatively to the proposed project.
“It would be prudent for the proponents of the bridge projects to review Republic Act 10066, also known as the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.”-Elson T. Elizaga, Secretary, Heritage Conservation Advocates
“That bridge seems like a bottleneck. I guess the alternative is to build an additional bridge not far from it para maka-detour mga sakyanan? The city needs to be creative and not just resort to the easiest “solution.” –Caloy Conde
“Ayaw lang unta kay dili mabaylo ang kagahapon!”- Carlo Antonio Almirante
“Dili na gyud mabalik ang miagi,”- Felipe Velez Abrogar.
“We should have a deep sense of our history. And it is such legacies that enrich us as Filipinos.” – Dr Teresita B. Tumapon
“Oh, please , let it be! Just build new ones!- Dolly B. Ilogon
Precisely because it is a hundred years old, it has to be conserved.-Kelly Ramos
I remember discussions on this project years ago, the main concern of the DPWH is engineering safety. I think, it is not late in the day to start a conversation with the DPWH and LGU citing heritage conservation implications.- BenCyrus G. Ellorin
No way Jose! if you get to visit Iloilo, Bacolod and its neighboring cities, they respect, maintain their old heritage sites, very patriotic people.- Ruby Bebot Santos
The big question is – before any public building or structure is demolished, is the City government supposed to hold hearings & other proceedings? Is there a Committee that oversees said hearings or proceedings? From what’s been happening, it looks like there isn’t unless the people/public just wasn’t aware of it. Someone should look into this.-Gwendolyn Ramos Garcia:
If there is no such Committee yet, the City Gov’t. should immediately create one; my suggestion – members thereof should include the City Mayor, the Councilor in-charge of Cultural Affairs, the Chair of the City Historical Commission plus 1 member thereof, the City Engineer, a civic leader or two and some others. . . just my 2 cents worth. For all I know, there could be such a committee already.