It took almost 6 years and a newly-elected Mayor Vi to finally open a public bridge in the city of San Fernando. The modern concrete bridge is now open to the public after the right-of-way issues with the residences near the structure were amicably resolved.

The bridge is located in Barangay San Jose. It was previously the subject of various criticisms after the government spent millions of public funds for its construction and the bridge was still blocked by houses and is unpassable until its recent opening.

As per sources, the university near the bridge acquired a lot a few years ago and a temporary bailey steel bridge was constructed parallel to the controversial concrete structure. The parallel steel bridge is passable to light vehicles but is narrow. Some said that the same is no longer safe due to its loosen bolts and due to structural stress.

The passageway connects Barangay San Jose to Barangay Del Pilar, both progressive barangays and the bridge is vital to the residents and transients of the said barangays. It is also vital to the university and other schools in Barangay Del Pilar.

Going back to the concrete bridge, it was constructed several years back and the residents that were affected by the construction refused to vacate their dwellings to give way to the approach of the said bridge. They are demanding for higher payment from the government for their lots and their houses that should be demolished.

The government, as an instrumentality of the state, has its power called the power of eminent domain. Regardless of the location, the government can use, occupy or develop any private property but with proper and due compensation to the private owner. In this case, the government, through the Department of Public Works and Highways, can expropriate the property for the construction of the bridge's approach.

The previous owners of the property were demanding for higher compensation from the government. However, negotiations on the pricing failed and resulted to the residents' refusal to vacate their residences.

Comes now Mayor Vilma Caluag, the new mayor of the city inviting the said residents to sit down in the negotiation table. After several meetings, the residents finally agreed tk vacate their houses and the construction of the approaches came in the way.

The concrete bridge is now open and passable, putting public funds into good use. Thw public is now benefitting from a government project that became a white elephant for almost 5 years. We salute Mayor Vilma for her initiative and for her diplomatic stance that led to a peaceful resolve of the project.


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