Jalila Anugod, at 19 years old, is a widow with a 6-month old baby girl. Her husband died months ago. Jalila lives with her in laws who helped her support her baby. She was all smiles as she crossed the bridge holding her baby that day.
Asked why she looked so happy, she timidly answered that the bridge was wonderful (maayo). Few men were working on the bridge that day since it rained hard. The water level of Kapay River has risen and the current has gotten stronger, so the people were allowed to use the bridge while some workers continue to fix the cyclone wire railings.
Asked how the bridge is useful to her, without hesitation she says that she is able to save on the fare that she pays for the use of the raft. From barangay Dulag where she resides and going to Iligan, Jalila has to shell out about P500 for the fare. This is too much for her who just relies mainly on the support of her parents-inilaw to survive.
“I need to go to Iligan for the immunization and regular check-up of my baby girl. There is only one midwife who covers barangay Dulag and two other barangays. Most of the time there are no supply of basic medicines so they have to provide for our own,” confides Jalila. “I also fear riding the raft, and I especially fear for my baby. Riding a raft while carrying your baby is very difficult because you have to balance everything. Much more if the current is strong. Many times, the raft got detached to the rope where it is tied. Because of this and the prohibitive transportation expenses, I often get discouraged to go to the town centre. But I also realize the importance of my baby’s immunization and regular check-ups.”
With the construction of the bridge, there is no more fear in crossing the river, there is no more hesitation to get that important immunization and regular check-up, and the transportation costs will hopefully be reduced significantly. Says Jalila: “I no longer fear that my baby will fall into the river. My baby will get her immunization and regular check-ups, especially since transportation costs will no longer be as expensive.”
“The burden of supporting me and my baby that is borne by my parents-in-law would hopefully be reduced, not only in terms of supporting my baby’s needs. The cost of transporting my father-in-law’s agriculture produce would be reduced, thereby affording him more income. In the end, this will also benefit me and my baby,” Jalila says in closing.
The footbridge was constructed through the Washi emergency response project funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department.