DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 May) – The Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) mayor Al David Uy on Thursday said he is not hopeful the multi-billion 3.98-kilometer Davao City-Samal Island Bridge project will be completed within the term of presumptive President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Uy told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Thursday that with only a little over a month before President Rodrigo Duterte ends his term, the Philippine government and its Chinese counterpart have yet to finalize the loan agreement for the construction of the bridge.
The local chief executive said he is expecting the P19.321-billion bridge project will be completed at the end of term of Duterte’s successor but remains hopeful that construction will commence in the next administration.
“It will take another president, another administration just in time when Inday will become our president. By then, we can already use the bridge,” he said in jest. Inday is outgoing Davao City mayor Sara Duterte, who is leading the vice presidential race by at least 22 million votes.
The mayor said he is hoping the loan agreement will be finalized before President Duterte steps down on June 30.
He said construction work will start once the loan agreement is approved.
He said the budget for the bridge is 90% loan from China and the remaining 10% from the national budget.
He added that the budget for the road right of way acquisition (RROW) for Samal side will be taken from the Chinese loan while on the side of Davao City, it will be taken from the 10% national budget.
He said the RROW acquisition will start in Davao City.
“Once the loan agreement is finalized and the budget for the financing is already there, negotiations for the road right of way acquisition will start. The contractor for bridge construction will be mobilized also while the road right of way negotiation is ongoing,” he said.
On January 14, 2021, the Department of Public Works and Highways 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 last year 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.”
It added that it would also provide ease of access to tourism activities in Samal, enhance community access to employment, education and other social services and alternative routes 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 Samal crossing over Pakiputan Strait, according to DPWH. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)