A new era of ties between the Philippines and China has been ushered after the Chinese government provided Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the Samal Island - Davao City Connector (SIDC) Bridge Project in Davao Region.
The Republic of the Philippines, through the Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Philippines Ambassador Huan Xilian exchanged on Monday, June 13, 2022, the Framework Agreement on the provision of concessional loans to the Philippines for the design and build of SIDC Project under China Government Financing Facility.
A long-awaited dream project for decades, the Samal Island - Davao City Connector Project is one of the key G-to-G cooperation projects between China and the Philippines and a flagship project under the "Build, Build, Build" program.
DOF Secretary Dominguez also exchanged with Ambassador Xilian, witnessed virtually by the officials of Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) the loan document that provides financing for the construction of the SIDC Project, a toll-free two-way four-lane bridge to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways - Unified Project Management Office (DPWH-UPMO) Operations headed by Undersecretary and Build Build Build Chief Implementer Emil Sadain.
The loan will cover 90% of the project’s PHP 23.039-billion price tag or roughly PHP 21 billion. The bridge is envisioned as a modern bridge that will connect the Samal Circumferential Road in Barangay Limao, Island Garden City of Samal to Davao City between R. Castillo-Daang Maharlika junction.
With a total length of 3.98 kilometers including Davao ramps and at grade road and roundabout in Samal, the bridge has a width of 24 meters and a vertical navigational clearance of up to 47 meters. The bridge crossing over Pakiputan Strait will also be supported by two (2) pylons with a height of 73 meters.
In line with the Chinese loan procedures and arrangements, the DPWH commenced the procurement process and undertook limited competitive bidding among Chinese contractors provided by GPRC. China Road and Bridge Corporation has been selected as the contractor for the project.
On January 14, 2021, DPWH and China Road and Bridge Corporation entered into a contract amounting to PHP 19.32-billion for the design and build of Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project to head start the negotiation process and support the loan application.
According to Sadain, the project is expected to break ground next month and the construction duration is estimated to last 5 years.
Once completed, the bridge will provide a resilient and reliable transportation link between Metro Davao and Samal Island, reducing travel time from 26 to 30 minutes via RoRo ferry to only 5 minutes, and enhancing internal mobility and external linkage to support the economic and tourist growth potential of the local region, said Sadain.
It will also increase the economic activities and improve the livelihoods of the local people who have long dreamed of having such a bridge, added Sadain.