The Philippines has a lot of wonderful places to explore and it is a traveler’s dream to explore all of these places in the shortest time possible. Given that the country is an archipelago, it takes time and money to travel from one place to another and it can be discouraging sometimes. One of the solutions for this problem is building bridges that connect the distant islands with one another to prioritize land travel.
Projects like these already exist in the Philippines with the San Juanico Bridge as a prime example. In 2021, the next land-connecting bridge will be in Mindanao as a part of the “Build, Build, Build” project and it will be connecting Davao City with the famous Island Garden City of Samal. The bridge is a P23-billion project that will be as long as 2,830 meters and will be traversing the Davao Gulf. It is expected to improve the trade and tourism of Davao and Samal with the reduced transport costs that the project will bring.
Last January, the project was delayed because an affected property owner threatened to file a Writ of Kalikasan – a legal remedy that protects one’s rights to a healthy environment – against the project. Governor Edwin Jubahib assured everybody that no damage will be done to the environment during the construction.
The pandemic has also caused further delays which postponed the groundbreaking from July of this year to January 2021. There were even worries that the project wouldn’t be happening because the funds for the project might be redirected to aid in COVID-19 efforts but it was assured that the project will push through with financial assistance from the Chinese Government. 80% of the total cost will be shouldered by China while the 20% will come from the national government under the General Appropriations Act.
“Hopefully, we are praying, as per Secretary Villar, the groundbreaking will be in January 2021. Naa na sila’y timetable nga gisubmit sa ako maong paspas kaayo sila karon (They already submitted a timetable of the implementation to me, which explains why they are fast-tracking it),” Samal Mayor Al David Uy said in a radio interview. The groundbreaking will happen simultaneously on the opposite ends of the bridge – Azuela Cove in Davao City and Brgy. Caliclic in Samal. Currently, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Central Office is gathering data on where the ends of the bridge will be located specifically. It will then be followed by the project bidding in October and November.
“The project shall be implemented from 2020-2024, with construction period scheduled from 2021-2024. Operation will be from 2025 onwards,” NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) said in a press statement.
In December 2020, DPWH Sec. Mark Villar published on his Facebook page the ‘perspective’ of the Davao-Samal Bridge.