Sunday, August 01, 2021

Editorial: What’s the progress for Davao-Samal Bridge?

WILL the bridge connecting Davao City and Samal Island remain a dream?

The Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project (Samal-Davao Bridge) is among the big-ticket projects that the present administration has in the pipeline.

The SIDC is a two-way four-lane 3.86-km bridge with the main bridge having a length of 1.62-km long. According to the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, the SIDC "will be designed in a cable-stayed structure with the twin towers and double cable planes. The construction duration is estimated to last 60 months."

On January 14, 2021, the Philippine and Chinese governments signed a commercial contract for China to finance around $400 million for the SIDC. The two governments began loan agreement negotiations following the signing of the commercial contract.

According to a press statement of the Chinese Embassy in January 2021, "The project is expected to break ground in the first half of 2021.”

However, as the first half of the year draws to a close, we have yet to receive news of the groundbreaking of the SIDC. Based on news reports, the SIDC was expected to have its groundbreaking in July 2020 but did not push through. In September 2020, Uy said based on discussions with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, the project was expected to have its groundbreaking in January 2021. However, that did not happen too.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that Uy let out an impassioned statement on the delay of the bridge.

"Mangutana ko sa DPWH kung asa na ang amoang tulay? Kay hapit na lang ko namatay, asa naman ning tulay namo? Kay kung ani na lang man gani, ma-Covid napud ko, dalahon nalang tamo. Mga y*** mo. Klaruha mi ninyo diha. Unsa man gyud? (I want to ask DPWH. Where is the bridge? I almost died and there seems to be no bridge. If that is the case and if I get Covid-19 again, I will bring you here. You have to be clear with us)," Uy said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio on Monday, June 14.

The following day, June 15, he apologized for his statement saying that he was carried away with emotions when he made that statement. The mayor, on June 14, talked briefly about the SIDC after interviewer his Covid-19 experience. The mayor recounted how he was in a severe condition for three days and how it took the life of his mother.

After his apology, some Samaleños and netizens commented how Uy does not need to apologize for his statement on the SIDC. Some even agreed with his statement, concerned that the bridge will remain as a “drawing.” The mayor’s statement is also a valid concern in regards to the bridge project. If you recall, the Davao-Samal Bridge has been in the news even before the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte. Therefore, the mayor and the Samaleños questioning the project’s delay is quite valid.

The DPWH has yet to issue a statement on this. The last time we asked about SIDC to DPWH-Davao, they told us that they are unable to provide updates on this because the implementation of the bridge project is under the national office. This is also the reason why it is not easy for the community press to get an update on the project.

Updates on the SIDC have not been as regular as we wanted them to be. This is not only true for the SIDC, but also for other big-ticket projects for Mindanao as well. Therefore for many of us, we have no idea about the progress of the project and if it will be implemented during the administration of President Duterte or now.

The pandemic may have delayed the implementation of some projects in Davao but the people who will benefit or be affected by it should also be made aware of its progress and developments. So, what are the plans for SIDC?


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