The Visayan Bloc in the House of Representatives on Saturday urged the Department of Public Works and Highways to prioritize the construction of the P42-billion Panay-Guimaras-Negros island bridge.
Once built, the said bridge will surpass San Juanico Bridge’s record as the country’s longest, according to the bloc’s leader, Rep. Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental.
Benitez and Rep. Jerry Trenas of Iloilo, also a member of the bloc, said their group supports the project as part of the Duterte administraiton’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
In a statement, the group also appealed to their fellow legislators to support the project that will link Panay to Negros island, through Guimaras.
The 14.3-kilometer Panay-Guimaras link can be completed by 2021 should construction start this year.
On the other hand, the Guimaras-Negros bridge, spanning 5.7 kilometers, could be started before the end of the term of President Duterte, Benitez said.
Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said it is important for Congress to rally behind Duterte’s infrastructure program to ensure the implementation of Phase 2 of the project.
He believes that Phase 3 of the project that will interconnect Negros to Cebu, will also be funded by government owing to the expected economic success that will be realized as soon as the two bridges are completed and become operational.
“We believe that Region 6 has so much potential for tourism and economic opportunities that can be maximized through the creation of accessory infrastrucctures such as the Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge that will enhance connectivity within the region,” Benitez said.
“The project shall improve transportation connectivity and efficiency and promote regional economies by way of enhancing productivity, attracting investments and generating more revenues for localities in the region,” he added.