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The historical Ysalina bridge

Conversation between Elson T. Elizaga (Q) and Bing ChatGPT (A). July 19, 2023. Photo added November 22, 2023.

Some statements from Bing ChatGPT may contain errors. Others may be verbatim copies. Republic Act No. 1006 has been replaced by Republic Act No. 11961. Readers are advised to check the sources.

Ysalina Brige, Feb. 14, 2005

The bridge is named after Paciencio Ysalina, former governor of Misamis Oriental.


According to a report published by Gold Star Daily on July 7, 2023, Cagayan de Oro mayor Rolando Uy stated that the historical Ysalina Bridge will be replaced “early next year.” Upon reading this information, I consulted Bing chatGPT:

Q Is there a Philippine law that guarantees protection and preservation of historic bridges -- those that are more than 50 years old?

A According to my search, there is a Philippine law that provides for the protection and conservation of the national cultural heritage, which includes historic bridges. It is called the Republic Act No. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009. This law mandates the creation of a Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP) where all cultural properties of the country shall be registered³. The law also defines important cultural property as "a cultural property having exceptional cultural, artistic and historical significance to the Philippines, as shall be determined by the National Museum and/or National Historical Institute."¹.

The law further states that all immovable cultural property which are more than fifty (50) years old shall be considered important cultural property unless declared otherwise by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) or the National Museum¹. Therefore, historic bridges that are more than 50 years old are automatically considered important cultural property and are entitled to protection and preservation under this law.

The law also provides for incentives and penalties for the conservation and destruction of cultural properties respectively¹. The law was drafted by the NCCA as an advocacy mandate to foster the preservation, enrichment and dynamic evolution of Filipino culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression². The law also aims to establish and strengthen cultural institutions, protect cultural workers, and create a balanced atmosphere where the historic past coexists in harmony with modern society¹.

I hope this answers your question. If you want to learn more about this law, you can visit these links:

¹: https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph
²: https://en.unesco.org
³: https://en.wikipedia.org

Learn more:

(1) R.A. No. 7942 - The Lawphil Project. https://lawphil.net


Q Is the Ysalina bridge in Cagayan de Oro a historical structure? Does it deserved to be protected?

A The Ysalina Bridge, or commonly called the Carmen Bridge, is the first bridge in Cagayan de Oro built around 1888 to 1890 by the Bridge Builder Major Juan Zanon, a military governor of Misamis Oriental¹². The bridge, at that time, was a bit unstable and made of bamboo. It was later reconstructed to a hanging bridge and named "Puente del General Blanco" after incumbent General Ramon Blanco y Erenas. It was paid by donations from several local families, with P5,000 in gold coins, and was built to be the longest suspension bridge in the Philippines at one point². The bridge was further improved to a concrete bridge and inaugurated on August 26, 1931²³. The bridge was named after Governor Paciencio Ysalina, former governor of Misamis Oriental¹.

The Ysalina Bridge is a historical structure that has witnessed the growth and development of Cagayan de Oro. It is also a cultural property that falls under the definition of important cultural property as stated in Republic Act 10066. Therefore, it deserves to be protected and conserved under the law. The law provides for the following protection measures for important cultural properties:

  • They shall not be demolished, modified or altered without the prior approval of the NCCA or its affiliated cultural agencies;
  • They shall be maintained using traditional techniques and materials whenever possible;
  • They shall be protected from exportation, modification, alteration, destruction or demolition by their owners or by other parties;
  • They shall be given priority by government agencies in the restoration and conservation programs;
  • They shall be entitled to incentives such as grants, tax deductions, subsidies and other forms of assistance from the government⁴.

I hope this gives you some insight into the significance and value of the Ysalina Bridge. If you want to see more photos and videos of the bridge, you can visit these links:

¹: https://www.sunstar.com.ph
²: https://aboutcagayandeoro.com
³: https://www.youtube.com
⁴: https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph

Learn more:

(1) Newly Painted Ysalina Bridge" The Oldest Bridge in CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY .... https://www.youtube.com


Q Who drafted Republic Act 10066? Why was it created and approved? Was it because of the destruction of Philippine heritage sites?

A Republic Act 10066 was drafted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as an advocacy mandate to foster the preservation, enrichment and dynamic evolution of Filipino culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression¹².

The bill was further deliberated on by the NCCA members of the 22 National Committees representing both the public and private sectors, and the affiliate government agencies, like the National Museum, Cultural Center of the Philippines, National Historical Institute, Records Management and Archives Office, and the Intramuros Administration for the Department of Tourism¹.

The bill was introduced by Sonny Angara in the House of Representatives and by Edgardo Angara in the Senate². It was enacted by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 26, 2010². The law was drafted in response to the 2000 demolition of the Manila Jai Alai Building, which was considered a cultural property of significant architectural value²³. The law also mentions "archaeological" 18 times, an apparent reference to the destruction of the Huluga archaeological site in 2003, which contained artifacts dating back to 350 AD²⁴.

The law aims to prevent further loss of cultural heritage and to protect and conserve the national cultural heritage for the benefit of present and future generations¹. I hope this helps you understand more about this law. If you want to read more about it, you can check these links:

¹: https://en.unesco.org
²: https://en.wikipedia.org
³: https://www.rappler.com
⁴: https://www.sunstar.com.ph

Learn more:

(1) Republic Act No. 10066 | Official Gazette of the Republic of the .... https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph
(2) Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10066. https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph
(3) Republic Act No. 10066 - The Lawphil Project. https://lawphil.net
(4) Republic Act No. 10066 An Act Providing For The Protection And .... https://www.chanrobles.com
(5) House of Representatives. https://congress.gov.ph


Q: Is the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) planning to replace the Ysalina Bridge?

A: According to an article from Metro Cagayan de Oro, the Ysalina Bridge replacement is still a “proposed project” as of July 18, 2023. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will conduct a social and environmental impact assessment with stakeholders before proceeding with the project. The technical rationale behind the proposed replacement of the bridge was presented by DPWH engineers, including the presentation of alternative designs of the replacement bridge.

The mayor decided on the bridge design based on the technical presentation and other considerations that were presented and discussed with him. The project has reportedly also been reviewed and endorsed by the Regional Development Council Region X (RDC-10) Infrastructure & Utilities Committee (Infracom). The Ysalina bridge project was included in the DPWH X budget proposal amounting to P1-billion for FY 2024 and was endorsed by both the Infracom and the RDC-10 Full Council last March 9, 2023, and March 24, 2023, respectively1. I hope this helps!

Learn more:

1. metrocdo.com
2. mb.com.ph
3. mindanaogoldstardaily.com

Children washing under Ysalina Bridge.

Below Ysalina Bridge, February 14, 2006, 5:16 pm.

Q: Is the Ysalina bridge unsafe to use by vehicles and pedestrians?

A: The Ysalina Bridge in Cagayan de Oro, also known as the Carmen Bridge, has been a subject of safety concerns. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the region has expressed concerns about the bridge's safety due to significant corrosion found in the steel girders supporting the bridge deck¹³. This corrosion has extended to the steel support piles and caps, rendering the bridge unsafe for public use and vehicular traffic¹.

In response to these safety concerns, the DPWH reduced the load limit of the Ysalina Bridge from 7 tons or 14,000 pounds to 4 tons or 8,000 pounds². This means that only lightweight motor vehicles may be allowed passage².

Despite these safety measures, there is ongoing debate about the future of the bridge. Some local heritage conservation advocates are opposing plans to demolish the bridge due to its historical significance¹. They suggest preserving the Ysalina Bridge and opening it only to foot traffic¹.

Please note that this information is based on available online resources and may not be up-to-date. For the most accurate information, it's recommended to contact local authorities or agencies responsible for infrastructure safety in Cagayan de Oro.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 10/14/2023

(1) Conservationists slam plan to demolish Cagayan de Oro's oldest bridge. https://www.rappler.com/nation/mindanao/conservationists-slam-plan-demolish-cagayan-de-oro-oldest-bridge/.
(2) DENR, CDO LGU draw flak for plan to demolish iconic Ysalina Bridge. https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2023/09/denr-cdo-lgu-draw-flak-for-plan-to-demolish-iconic-ysalina-bridge/.
(3) Oro’s Ysalina bridge load limit cut for safety. https://mindanaotoday.com/oros-ysalina-bridge-load-limit-cut-for-safety/.


Q: If a historical bridge is weak, should it be replaced or destroyed?

A: The decision to replace or destroy a historical bridge that is weak is a complex one and involves various considerations. According to the Republic Act No. 10066 and Republic Act No. 11961 of the Philippines, historical structures are protected and should be preserved. However, if a structure poses a safety risk, measures need to be taken. These can include:

1. Restoration or Rehabilitation: If possible, the structure may be restored or rehabilitated to ensure its safety while preserving its historical value.

2. Relocation: In some cases, the structure may be relocated to a safer location.

3. Documentation: If the structure must be demolished, it should be thoroughly documented for historical records.

The decision should involve experts in the field of heritage conservation, structural engineering, and local government units. The ultimate goal is to ensure public safety while preserving as much of the cultural heritage as possible. It's always a balance between preserving history and ensuring safety. End


Ysalina Bridge, February 14, 2006.


Some statements from Bing ChatGPT may contain errors. Others may be verbatim copies. Republic Act No. 1006 has been replaced by Republic Act No. 11961. Readers are advised to check the sources.

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