Longest sea-crossing bridge in Northern Mindanao 61% complete

THE 3.17-kilometer Panguil Bay Bridge that will connect Tangub City in Misamis Occidental to the Municipality of Tubod in Lanao del Norte is now 61 percent complete and is set for completion next year.

The bridge would cut the travel time between Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental from two hours to just seven minutes, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said in a statement Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.

It currently takes commuters one hour and 30 minutes to traverse this route via roll-on roll-off vessel and two to two and a half hours via land travel through Panguil Bay road.

The bridge will also shorten land travel from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities to Tangub City and the northern Zamboanga Region.

President Rodrigo Duterte led the groundbreaking for the bridge project in November 2018.

But the project was officially started only in February 2020, with the design and building then delayed amid work restrictions at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and material and supply chain issues.

The bridge, which the DPWH has described as Mindanao’s longest bridge, is targeted for completion in December 2023.

Some 336 people now work 24 hours a day in a bid to meet this deadline.

In this last quarter of 2022, the DPWH said, progress on the bridge has been affected by the “climate” in the area that has often been “rainy with strong currents of Panguil Bay.”

The ₱7.375 billion bridge is financed by a loan agreement between the Government of the Philippines and Korean Export Import Bank.

Work on the bridge is being undertaken by Namkwang Engineering & Construction Corp. in a joint venture with Kukdong Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. and Gumgwang Construction Co. Ltd. and consultant Yooshin Engineering Corp. in a joint venture with Pyunghwa Engineering Consultants Ltd. and Kyong-Ho Engineering & Architects Co. Ltd.

DPWH Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain

said the construction of the bridge represents “a milestone highlighting how the design and construction of a modern bridge with sea offshore excavation depth of up to more than 50 meters has evolved.”

The Panguil Bay Bridge Project is composed of a 320-meter main bridge, a 1,920-meter approach bridge, and an approach road.

Its realization has been a long time coming.

As early as July 2007, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had witnessed the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between officials of the DPWH and local chief executives of areas that the proposed bridge would connect.

The MOA, calling for the commitment of the signatories to help fast-track the implementation of the project, was signed by

then DPWH senior undersecretary Manuel Bonoan, then Tangub City mayor Jennifer Tan, then Tubod mayor Eduardo Mansueto, then Lanao del Norte governor Khalid Dimaporo, and then Misamis Occidental governor Loreto Leo Ocampos, the Philippine Information Agency said.

During the July 11, 2007 signing, Ocampos said the bridge had been a more than 30-year dream of the people of Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte and the neighboring areas to improve travel time and economic activity.

The plan then was to build the bridge through a build-operate-transfer scheme. But the project is now being undertaken through official development assistance from South Korea instead. (CTL)