The government will build eight long bridges with a combined cost of P269.19 billion to link the islands in the Visayas to Luzon and Mindanao.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the bridges would be a part of the government’s massive infrastructure buildup to stimulate growth and create jobs outside Metro Manila.
Dominguez said the bridge projects would be complemented by the construction of road networks to transform the island-economies of the Visayas into growth corridors.
“These bridges will provide growth corridors and ensure that none of the major islands of the Visayas will be left behind in the country’s race to progress,” Dominguez said in a speech read by Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin at the closing of the Philippine Economic Briefing at Marco Polo Hotel in Cebu City.
Dominguez said the eight proposed bridge projects were set to be submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee for approval.
The proposed projects include an 18.2-kilometer bridge to connect Samar provinces to the main island of Luzon; a 20-kilometer bridge connecting Leyte to Mindanao through either an underwater tunnel bridge or a long-span overhead bridge; a 5.7-kilometer Panay-Guimaras bridge; and a 12.3-kilometer Guimaras-Negros inter-island linkage.
Other projects are a one-kilometer Bohol-Lapinig Island bridge; an 18-kilometer Lapinig Island-to-Leyte bridge; a 5.5-kilometer Cebu-Negros Link bridge; and a 24.5-kilometer Cebu-to-Bohol link.
Dominguez said the proposed bridges would be on top of the four big-ticket projects in the Visayas under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program already approved for implementation by the Neda board.
These are three airport improvement projects and the New Cebu International Container Port.
“Our infrastructure investments, estimated at $170 billion between now and 2022, have very high multiplier effects. By undertaking these thoroughly studied strategic projects, we will stimulate economic activity. Jobs and opportunities will be created, and we are confident we can bring down poverty incidence to only 14 percent by 2022,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program of the government was in full swing and Filipinos would feel the economic benefits of the infra projects “very soon,” with the country “moving strongly towards achieving a high middle-income status in a few years.”
The Philippines is now one of the best performing economies in Asia, with the Asian Development Bank declaring the country as having entered its “golden age” of economic growth, he said.