The Negros Occidental provincial government pledged more bridges for Sagay to help farmers and communities in the upland barangays during the groundbreaking and inauguration of the P139 million bridge projects in two barangays of the city on Wednesday, March 22.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson together with officials and representatives from the city and provincial governments led the groundbreaking of the P62.8 million Himogaan Bridge III in Brgy. Puey, and inauguration of the P76.2M Himogaan Bridge in Brgy Bato.
Lacson, in his speech during the inauguration program in Bato, said that many lives have been lost in the area before the bridge was built and more than saving lives, the infrastructure will also help in ensuring food security in the area and the city.
“Let’s continue the bridge programs here in Sagay City,” he said, adding “more than saving lives, we can also ensure food security, and hopefully this area would be a food basket of Sagay and the province.”
Lacson was joined by Agriculture Acting Regional Director Jose Albert Barrogo, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz and Sagay Mayor Narciso Javelosa Jr., Vice Mayor Leo Rafael Cueva, Sangguniang Panglungsod members and department heads.
About 80 percent of the project was funded by the World Bank while the remaining 10 percent was a counterpart fund from the provincial government, and another 10 percent was from the DA.
These projects have been in the works since the late Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.’s administration, which included the development of the Sagay Port.
The newly-opened Himoga-an Bridge will connect the barangays Bato and Baviera and will create easier access to upper barangays like Sewahon, Colonia Divina, and other nearby barangays in Cadiz City.
Meanwhile, the Himoga-an Bridge III in Brgy. Puey will open easier routes coming from Bato and the lowland barangays of Sagay.
During the bridge opening, Barangay Baviera Capt. Eleno Tronzon narrated that for almost 49 years, residents from their barangays have been struggling to pass the overflow especially when there are emergency cases.
Tronzon said that since 1974 there have been many accidents recorded in the area, including 50 lives that have been lost mainly because of flash floods and heavy rains at the Himoga-an River.
Manitho Mahilum, a farmer from Brgy. Colonia Divina, also said that when the government started to intervene in developing farming and agriculture in their area, their lives changed.
“We are thankful to the help of DA as they changed our norm here by introducing agriculture projects and letting us cultivate our own farms by growing more crops,” he said.
He said that they are still looking forward to more projects that will be implemented by DA, province, and Sagay City in their communities until they become self-sufficient.
Sagay SP Committee Chairperson on Agriculture Councilor Perfecto Marañon said that the opening of this bridge will help Sagay City achieve its rice sufficiency in two to three years.
He said that right now, the city is 85 percent rice sufficient, and opening the Himoga-an Bridge will bring more opportunities to the upland communities to improve their lives.
Barangays Colonia Divina, Puey, Bato, Sewahon, Maquiling, and Baviera are considered the rice granaries of the city and play a key role in the food security of Sagay.
“Today, Sagay received an answered blessing from above,” he said, adding “this project will open more opportunities to improve the lives of the people here.”
MORE BRIDGES, PROJECTS
In response, Barrogo said that the communities benefiting from the construction of the bridge should play their role in taking care of the infrastructure as he pledged more projects for them.
He mentioned the possibility of putting up a Potable Water System (PWS) in Brgy. Colonia Divina and urged the governor to explore “Smart Green House” projects in Sagay City.
Barrogo said that they will continue to support Sagay and other LGUs in Negros Occidental in creating development projects that would help many communities and marginalized sectors.
Javelosa said that two more bridge projects are to be proposed by the city to the PRDP and DA, to connect more upland barangays to neighboring cities of Cadiz and Escalante.
He said the city government is eyeing to create bridges in Brgy. Sewahon 1 connecting to Brgy. VF Gustilo in Cadiz City, and another in Purok Gerard, Brgy. Bato, connecting to Brgy. Magsaysay in Escalante.
Vice Mayor Cueva said this is a dream fulfilled of the late Gov. Alfredo D. Maranon Jr. for the farmers.*