FOLLOWING yesterday's groundbreaking of Cebu's third bridge, business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan spoke about his interest in the Cebu-Bohol Friendship Bridge.
"This (Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway or CCLEX) is the third bridge, but in my own assessment, you do need two more bridges and we'd like to see the fourth bridge being built certainly in much less than 20 years," said Pangilinan, chair of the Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC), who is also financing the P28-billion third bridge.
For Pangilinan, the fourth bridge should be the Cebu-Bohol bridge.
"Earlier, (Bohol) Gov. Edgar Chatto told me (that) it should link the islands of Cebu and Bohol, and I said, absolutely!" he said.
As of last December, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board approved the 17.5-kilometer Bohol-Cebu Friendship Bridge. The project is now under feasibility study, including the pre-engineering work.
The feasibilty study will identify whether the government will pursue it through Public-Private Partnership, the same setup as that of the Cebu-Cordova bridge, or through Build-Operate Transfer.
The businessman, however, has bolder plans--to connect Eastern, Central, and Western Visayas and convert it into "one big economic region."
In his speech, he said he has already spoken to several Chinese contractors.
CCLEX is eyed for completion over the next three years, or before 2020. Pangilinan said this will generate 5,000 jobs in the course of the construction.
Through PPP, MPTDC, through its subsidiary, the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway Corp., will finance, design, build, operate, and maintain the toll bridge.
After 35 years of operation, CCLEX will be turned over to local government partners, namely Cebu City and Cordova.