All systems go for the construction of PHP21-billion 4-km Davao-Samal bridge

Last June, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced that the Philippines has been loaned PHP 21-billion by the People’s Republic of China to finance the construction of the 4-kilometer bridge that would connect the mainland Mindanao through Davao to the Island Garden City of Samal.

Yesterday, the DPWH announced that all systems will be a go for the construction of the said bridge.

According to DPWH, the agency has conducted a land survey and geotechnical investigation using a boring machine with the government finally proceeding with the detailed engineering design activities for the civil works construction of the long-awaited Samal Island – Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project.

The geotechnical investigation plan prepared by design and build contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation will have a total of 97 boreholes - 63 for Davao onshore, 18 offshore, and 16 for Samal onshore.

Although DPWH considered several proposals for the bridge alignment including the one suggested during the recent meeting at DPWH Head Office between Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan, Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib, and the Rodriguez-Lucas family which is the owner of Samal’s Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort and Costa Marina Beach Resort, the approved final alignment for the sea crossing bridge is a product of a comprehensive study by experts and with important consideration to the environment and the necessary navigational safety management for seacraft and height restriction for air transport, said DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain.

DPWH: PHP21-billion 4-kilometer Davao-Samal Island bridge a go image

The project has all the necessary permits and requirements from concerned local government units and national government agencies and both the local government units of Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) and Davao City have expressed no opposition to the current bridge alignment, said Secretary Bonoan.

The Infrastructure Development Council (IDC) of Regional Development Council (RDC) 11 has approved as early as 2019 the bridge’s alignment and landing points from Samal Circumferential Road in Barangay Limao, IGACOS to Davao City between R. Castillo-Daang Maharlika junction, citing its economic and logistical benefits.

The project has also obtained in December 2020 an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) based on the most recent detailed study on the bridge project by Consultants, Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd. (Arup) which highlights that the current alignment has the least impact on reefs.

DPWH allayed fears that the SIDC Project will have an adverse effect on marine life and the environment by adopting state-of-the-art modern technology in the construction of a deep foundation for a sea-crossing bridge. The alignment will not also affect the mountainous terrain of IGACOS compared to the suggested alignment by some groups.

Part of the requirement that has been complied with before the issuance of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) is the creation of the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) and the establishment of the Environmental Monitoring Fund (EMF) and Environmental Guarantee Fund (EGF).

The EMF is a fund that the proponent shall commit to establishing to support the activities of the MMT. Meanwhile, the EGF shall be established and used exclusively for the immediate rehabilitation of areas affected by damages to the environment and the resulting deterioration of environmental quality as a direct consequence of project construction, operation, and abandonment.

This fund is for the contingency clean-up activities, environmental enhancement measures, damage prevention programs, and social equity measures (e.g. livelihood, and social development programs) including the necessary information-education-communication and capability-building activities related to the project.

The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) likewise issued Resolution No. 04, s.2020 in October 2020, giving clearance or expression of support for the SIDC Project, being outside the Samal Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLS).

Furthermore, the DPWH has also issued a Letter Offer to each Project Affected Person (PAP) in compliance with Section 6.2, IRR of R.A 10752, duly approved by the Government Financial Institution (GFI) Appraisal Report presented by Landbank of the Philippines (LBP).

DPWH: PHP21-billion 4-kilometer Davao-Samal Island bridge a go image

Envisioned as a 3.98-kilometer, 4-lane bridge that will link Samal Island to Davao City, SIDC will cross over Pakiputan Strait with vertical clearance navigation of up to 47 meters, supported by two (2) pylons with a height of 73 meters.

When completed, it is seen to facilitate the economic advancement of the Davao Region, and further boost the tourism potential of IGACOS which is known for its pristine beach destinations.

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