Republic Cement helps build the first Kapuso Bridge

Myle Macalam | Nov. 16, 2017

On Oct. 20, 2017, Republic Cement, represented by Mr. Renato Sunico, president of Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc., was privileged to participate in the inauguration of the very first “Kapuso” bridge in the island barangay of Iraya, Buhi, Camarines Sur.

A multi-sectoral project spearheaded by GMA Kapuso Foundation, it has as partners the local government of Buhi, Camarines Sur, the national government represented by DPWH and DepEd, the military represented by the AFP Engineering Battalion of the Southern Luzon Command and private sector partners Republic Cement, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation, DMCI, and Davies Paints.

Spanning 30 meters long, the Iraya Hanging Bridge is built of steel, concrete made of Republic’s Rapidset cement and has expanded metal floors, providing a strong and safe platform connecting local residents, most specially the children, to the other side of Lake Buhi where their schools and places of work are located. At night, it is lit by solar powered lamps, guaranteeing safe passage for the locals.

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The new fortified bridge replaces both the rickety bamboo bridge that turns slippery when it rains as well as the older hanging bridge that was swept away by Typhoon Niña in December 2016, leaving only the steel cables that were like a skeleton of its old self. As a result, residents living on the other side had to cross the lake by walking on slippery bamboo or on the remaining cables like high-wire artists on a tightrope, putting both adults and children at risk just so they could continue earning their livelihood and pursuing an education in the mainland.  

Consistent with the norm in Republic Cement, its involvement in the project extended beyond just a simple cement donation. A Technical Team was thus sent to the project site in Iraya to provide assistance in the formulation of the concrete design mix and suggestions on the proper job-mixing and pouring of the concrete. With safety being a Republic core value, the services of Lugano Engineering Consultancy, one of its accredited consultants, was also engaged to provide independent verification of the conformance of the structural design of the hanging bridge with the National Structural Code of the Philippines. LEC also proposed structural improvements that were adopted in the final construction of the bridge to ensure that it can withstand the impacts of strong winds and flooding brought on by seasonal typhoons.

With the hanging bridge now back in place, and made even stronger and more resilient against weather disturbances, the residents of Barangay Iraya can now sleep better, knowing that their passage to and from the main town of Buhi has been made safer, thanks to this multi-sectoral partnership that keeps public safety top of mind.