Bridges Worth P270 Billion to Connect Visayas to Luzon and Mindanao

Cherryl Anne Cruz

Traveling to Visayas by sea can be a hassle. But the good news is, drivers will have a chance to drive conveniently to its western, eastern, and central islands, thanks to President Rodrigo Duterte‘s plans of building eight bridges that would link the Visayas to the rest of the Philippines.

The bridges, which would cost at least PHP269 billion, will include the following:

  • 18.2-kilometer bridge connecting Masbate in Luzon and Samar
  • 20-km bridge connecting Leyte and Surigao in Mindanao, either an underwater tunnel or an overhead span
  • 18-km Lapinig-Leyte bridge
  • 5.7-km Panay-Guimaras Bridge
  • 12.3-km Guimaras-Negros Bridge
  • 1-km Bohol-Lapinig Bridge
  • 5.5-km Cebu-Negros Bridge
  • 24.5-km Cebu-Bohol Bridge

Bridges Spur ‘Interconnectivity and Logistics’

This strategic move to build various bridges will give the Visayas more avenues to connect not just to the entire country, but to the rest of the world as well.

Michael Dinio, the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas region, explained: “The name of the game in the future is interconnectivity and logistics.”

“You cannot be a national brand if your products are not found in other parts of the country,” he said. “You can buy so many things online, but the problem is when it will reach you, how much will it cost to reach you.”

It’s also a way to help tourists access the more remote parts of the Visayas, which could aid the country’s tourism efforts.

Project Funds

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia added that funding for the bridge projects will involve public-private collaborations and official development assistance from other countries.

China would also play a role in providing for the funds, although it has yet to be approved by the National Economic and Development Authority‘s (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee. Its initiative, “One Belt, One Road” will be a possible source of funding for the bridges’ construction.

Will it Push Through?

According to Pernia, feasibility studies will most likely start either this year or next year for most of the eight bridges, with the exception of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros proposal that’s still on paperwork.

Despite having set goal dates for construction, completion dates are still to be announced as of this time. Still, their groundbreaking ceremonies are already scheduled, with the Bohol-Leyte Bridge, Cebu-Negros Bridge, Luzon-Samar Bridge and Leyte-Surigao Bridges to be held in the first quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, the Cebu-Bohol and Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridges are scheduled in the last quarter of 2018.

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