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Category: Current News

By Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 23, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) said the funds needed for the construction of a bridge that would connect Davao City to the island garden city of Samal was already in place.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said the Davao-Samal Island bridge project could commence anytime soon.

The proposed budget for the construction of the Samal bridge currently stands at P16.47 billion, according to Tourism Assistant Secretary Eden David.

David, who also heads the newly formed DOT Mindanao office, said the project’s pre-feasibility study was already underway, and project implementation was expected to start by 2019.

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“(The Department of Public Works and Highways) already submitted to us the initial report prepared by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). We’re looking at some improvements already,” David said.

“The dates will vary, but one thing is for sure, programs have been initiated relative to funding it, both for the feasibility study and the full bridge construction,” she added.

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The pre-feasibility study aims to identify the best route where the bridge will be located, among others.

David also assuaged concerns about the project’s implementation.

“Actually, along the way when the study (was started), there was a consultation held and people from Samal were asked if they want this particular bridge,” she said.

“Similarly, there was also a survey conducted among Davao residents. And of course, majority said this was a welcome development,” she added.

The DOT said the construction of Samal Bridge would establish a more seamless connectivity between the destination and the city proper, making it more convenient for travelers to go to the island.

“I still believe that we need the bridge, because from there on, it would be easy. I would like to promote Samal as a beach destination. There are many resorts and diving spots in Samal,” Teo said.

The project is also part of the DOT’s initiatives to establish overall road connectivity within Davao and the Mindanao region, which is a priority program of the DOT.

According to David, DOT Mindanao is currently targeting to finish 80 percent of the road projects under the convergence program of the DOT and DPWH by 2017.

The DOT has already started the groundwork with the DPWH to identify the next set of priority road projects in the region starting 2018.

Data from the DOT showed that over 2,500 kilometers of roads were constructed in Mindanao in 2015, connecting various destinations in the region.

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