Samal Mayor: P23B bridge project to transform the island’s economic landscape

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 June) – Mayor Al David T. Uy said the P23.04-billion Davao City-Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) bridge project would open up a lot of opportunities that would change the economic landscape of the island.

The boat ride between Davao City and Samal Island. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Uy said in an interview that this mammoth bridge project, considered as one of the flagship infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration, would place upon their shoulders a big responsibility to strike a balance between environmental preservation and economic development.

He added that the local government is trying to ramp up other support infrastructure projects, such as improving the drainage and roads, and other basic services such as water and electricity.

“We need to educate our future leaders to take care of the environment, that they should balance development and environment, because we will not last long in position, we will grow old. It’s up to the next generation of leaders of Samal to balance development and ecology. Hopefully, they won’t repeat the mistakes in the past,” he added.

Uy praised the national government for not setting aside the Davao-Samal bridge project, which has been envisioned decades ago.

He said the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak worried him months ago as he thought the much awaited bridge project has to take a backseat to give way for government efforts in addressing the pandemic in the country.

Funding for the bridge project will be 80% official development assistance from China while the 20% counterpart of the national government will come from the General Appropriations Act.

“I was worrying because the national government was looking for budget for the Bayanihan Fund. I was expecting it might slash the budget [for the bridge] that would be used for the Fund, but luckily and thankfully it did not touch the budget. There was an assurance from Sec. Dizon during the briefing,” he said.

Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects Vince Dizon assured major infrastructure projects would continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are very happy that the funds are there and the project will push through,” he said.

According to Uy, the Department of Public Works and Highways-Davao said during a meeting with local officials from Davao City and IGACOS that the groundbreaking may happen in the fourth quarter of 2020. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)