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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

China extends P17.4-b loan to fund Samal-Davao bridge

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China approved a 2.34-billion renminbi (about P17.39 billion) loan to finance the construction of a two-way, four-lane bridge connecting Davao City and the Island Garden City of Samal in Mindanao, the Department of Finance said Tuesday.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian exchanged documents on the framework and the loan agreements on Monday afternoon at the Department of Finance in Manila.

The loan was the first renminbi-denominated loan secured from China under the Duterte administration. It will cover 90 percent of the financing requirements of the project’s design-and-build contract worth P19.32 billion.

The project is envisioned as a modern bridge that will connect the Samal Circumferential Road in Barangay Limao, Island Garden City of Samal to Davao City through R. Castillo-Daang Maharlika junction.

It will have a total length of 3.98 kilometers including Davao ramps and at grade road and roundabout in Samal. The bridge has a width of 24 meters and a vertical navigational clearance up to 47 meters. The bridge crossing over Pakiputan Strait will also be supported by two pylons with a height of 73 meters.

Public Works Undersecretary and ‘Build, Build, Build’ chief implementer Emil Sadain said the project would break ground in July 2022, and the construction period is expected to last 60 months.

“Once completed, the bridge will provide a resilient and reliable transportation link between Metro Davao and Samal Island, reducing travel time from 26 to 30 minutes via roll-on roll-off or ferry operations to only 5 minutes, and enhancing internal mobility and external linkage to support the economic and tourist growth potential of the local region, “Sadain said.

The ceremonial exchange coincided with the celebration of the 47th anniversary of Philippine-China diplomatic relations and the 21st commemoration of the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day. With Darwin G. Amojelar

The Department of Public Works and Highways, the main implementor of the project, signed the agreement with the China Road and Bridge Corp. for the construction of the 3.86-kilometer Samal Island-Davao City bridge. The loan is payable in 20 years, inclusive of a seven-year grace period, with an interest rate of 2 percent per annum.

China’s total financing commitments to the Philippines reached $1.1 billion, following the signing of the loan accord for the Samal Island-Davao City project.

Other loans include those for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project of the National Irrigation Administration, the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the Project Management Consultancy of the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project of the Department of Transportation.

The Samal Island-Davao City project complements the Mindanao Spatial Strategy/Development Framework 2015-2045, the Davao Regional Development Plan and the Davao Gulf Area Development Plan 2011-2030, which aim to facilitate commerce and trade, generate jobs, create wealth among the local government units in Mindanao and share the benefits of growth to more remote municipalities, including Samal Island.

The Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area Cooperation, which intends to promote economic development in underdeveloped and geographically remote regions in its member countries, is also expected to benefit from the Samal Island-Davao City project. With Darwin G. Amojelar

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