Wenceslao: Skywalk: Home of the homeless, refuge of the sad

Wenceslao: Skywalk: Home of the homeless, refuge of the sad

The woman lay unconscious on the asphalt pavement even as traffic slowed down around her. Some people stood around her waiting for the ambulance that did come later together with a patrol of cops.

“What happened?” I asked a motorcycle driver who was staring at the body while stopping on the sidewalk.

“The woman reportedly fell while sitting on the railing of the skywalk,” he said. I looked up and thought it was not possible. No human in his or her right mind would sit on a high railing while traffic flows below. “No, she must have committed suicide,” I told myself.

The woman, who was reportedly pregnant, was brought to the hospital. She was depressed, the barber who cut my hair told me later. My suspicions were confirmed. She indeed was depressed. It was the first time somebody who was depressed jumped off the said skywalk.

Skywalks dot the island because their construction was funded by lawmakers who found it easy in the past to sponsor bills for the purpose. Unfortunately, what was intended to make pedestrians cross the street easily also became a convenient sleeping area for the homeless. I dread the day when these skywalks, like the two bridges that connect the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, become a spot where those with suicidal tendencies jump from.

These skywalks are difficult to monitor. That particular skywalk where the woman jumped from was near the barangay hall and yet barangay officials could not prevent the homeless from sleeping there. The same thing is happening to the skywalks near Fuente Osmeña. No amount of cleanup drives made a difference.

Frankly, I try not to use the skywalks because I pity the situation the homeless are in. I’d rather cross the street using available crossings where street lights have been put in place. Or I run as fast as I can across the street when traffic flow slows down.

I don’t really know how the government will salvage the use of those skywalks. Even the lawmakers who initiated their construction no longer bother to monitor their use. Which is a sad testament of how our governance has deteriorated. Just look at what is happening now in Mambaling when it rains after the underpass was constructed.

But I do think lawmakers should take the lead in making sure that people will use the skywalks for the purpose with which these were constructed. The late Rep. Raul del Mar did try that but he is no longer around. And the other lawmakers were too lazy to follow. That can also be said of the concerned local government units where the structures are.

By the way, the management of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway has been successful so far in keeping those with suicidal tendencies away from the third bridge. But for how long will that success hold? But it shows us that skywalks can be put to a better use if these are well-managed and not neglected.


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