The first two bridges that connect Mactan Island to mainland Cebu seem to be the favorite spots for people who want to take their own lives. There had been several cases of suicide in both bridges, the Serging Veloso Osmeña Bridge (the first Mactan-Cebu bridge) and the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, in the past years.
In July 2019, the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) deployed its “anti-suicide” cops to the two bridges after individuals jumped into the Mactan Channel, including a 16-year-old girl. That month alone, the MCPO recorded four persons who jumped off the two bridges.
Patrolling along the two bridges just to watch out for people who may have suicidal tendencies is not the main job of police. The “anti-suicide” cops’ deployment did not last long. They eventually disappeared from the bridges.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had taken a step to make it difficult for people to jump by installing barriers in the two bridges. But cases of suicide did not stop.
The latest case is of a man who jumped off the Marcelo Fernan Bridge on Wednesday night, Jan. 25, 2023. Authorities conducted a search but called it off on the following day due to inclement weather.
Since maintaining bridges is one of the DPWH’s responsibilities, it would be good to include in its annual budget the allocation for hiring security guards who can watch the two bridges round the clock.
This step is necessary to help prevent suicide cases from happening in the two bridges in the future.
The Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway has its own guards. Why can’t the government allocate funds for the two bridges’ security?
If a private company can hire guards, then why can’t the government do it? Is it because only the ordinary people die, not the rich?
If it is expensive for the DPWH to spend for the hiring of guards for the two bridges, it can request the local government units of Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City and other LGUs in Metro Cebu to pool their funds for this purpose.
Hiring guards to secure and monitor the two Cebu-Mactan bridges is not entirely a foolproof move in preventing suicide cases, but doing so would show that the government is exerting an effort to help people who need psychiatric intervention.
The duty of the government is not only to take care of the needs of people with sound mind.
Editorial Cartoon by Enrico Santisas
January 26, 2023
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