Loan for Davao-Samal bridge still under negotiation

DAVAO  (MindaNews / 30 December) – Six months before the end of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s six-year term, the loan agreement for the multi-billion 3.98-kilometer Davao City-Samal Island Bridge remains on the negotiating stage between the Philippine and Chinese governments.

Mayor Al David Uy, of Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS), said during “Kasikas sa Probinsya” over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Thursday that in his recent meeting with Chinese Consul Li Lin, he was told that the negotiation for the P19.321-billion loan is ongoing between the Philippines’ Department of Finance (DOF) and its Chinese counterpart.

“According to him, the loan is already at the level of this agency – the financial arm – of the Chinese government. The loan is under negotiation between DOF and the Chinese Government,” he said.

He said the Chinese consul general hopes to provide details on the result of the loan negotiation between the two countries next month.

Despite the delay, Uy said he is hopeful the construction will start before Duterte steps down in June next year.

He said the Chinese contractor will start the construction once the loan agreement is approved.

“They are awaiting the notice to proceed. Once it’s there, they are expected to mobilize, bringing in barges and cranes for the operation,” he said.

On January 14, 2021, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and China Road and Bridge Corporation signed the design and build contract agreement after the Chinese contractor won the bidding and was subsequently issued with the notice of award on December 14, 2020.

However, the DOF submitted on April 26 an updated loan application reflecting the revised financing ratio of 90% loan and 10% local fund to China International Development Cooperation Agency and Export-Import Bank of China.

According to DPWH, the project will “provide a resilient and reliable transportation link between Metro Davao and Samal Island, enhancing internal mobility and external linkage to support the growth potential of Davao region.”

The agency said it would provide ease of access to tourism activities in IGACOS, enhance community access to employment, education and other social services and alternative route during emergency situations and disasters.

The construction of a toll-free four-lane bridge – with two lanes each direction – can serve around 25,000 vehicles a day between Davao City and IGACOS crossing over Pakiputan Strait, it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)