Baybay City – Mayor Carmen L. Cari and son, Leyte 5th district congressman Jose Carlos L. Cari, led city and barangay officials in a groundbreaking ceremony of a bridge at Brgy. Siabu that will give “all weather access” to seven remote villages in the mountains which are usually cut-off from the poblacion during heavy rains.
The bridge will connect the villages of Zacarito, Monterico, Ampihanon, Amguhan and Cabunga-an in Baybay, Cawilisihan in Inopacan town and another one in Mahaplag town to the city.
The officials broke the ground for Phase I of the 110-meter long bridge worth P 10-million, which solely comes from the LGU coffers.
Mayor Cari, who was previously a 3-term mayor of Baybay before she became a 3-term congressman, said she knew the bridge was the long time dream of residents there. Much as she would have wanted to oblige them then when she was mayor, the municipal funds were just not enough that is why when she became congresswoman, she fought hard for Baybay’s city-hood, knowing that with a city’s sizable internal revenue allotment (IRA), they could really move on important projects.
The mayor added that unlike the other new cities which are already building new city halls, she is contented to stay at the old town hall, refurbish and renovate it a little, so that they can spend the IRA on more necessary projects. Among these, she said, is the bridge connecting Siabu to 5 other villages.
In the meantime, she said, “let’s just change its name from town hall to city hall”.
Barangay officials and folk present loudly applauded her for the announcement.
Just like his mom whom he fondly calls his “older sister”, Rep. Jose Carlos L. Cari said the groundbreaking was equally meaningful to him. Also a three term mayor of Baybay when it was still a town, he said that he’d walk on foot to visit the villages and he was happy to note that little by little, the roads are being concreted. Now, he said, their longed-for bridge is taking shape.
The congressman recalled how he accompanied a World Bank executive to see the real situation at the area, so that the coverage of the Agrarian Reform Communities Development Program is expanded. With the actual site visit, he was able to convince the WB executive to include two more barangays, hence roads were opened to facilitate the delivery of produce from the mountains.
Now, that Baybay is a city, he noted it will have funds to finance major projects, but even so, it was not enough.
His brother, vice mayor Mike Cari said there was a need to allocate the city funds proportionally to the needs of the 92 barangays, hence they are prudent in only funding projects that are necessary and has the biggest impact to improve the lives of constituents. The bridge, he said, will make more efficient the transport of farm produce, aside from ensuring that people can be able to reach the city center anytime of the day, especially in emergencies.
To recall, Baybay is one of the 16 cities whose city-hood were contested by the League of Cities of the Philippines. The Supreme Court, after flip-flopping on the issue, finally ruled in favor of the 16 new cities. Rep. Cari was acknowledged as the only congressman who did not give up on the cause of the 16 cities that at least four other cities have named her their “adopted daughter”.