Yamaji Hideki, consul general of Japan in Cebu, also said the Philippines can expect more investments and tourists from Japan.
Consul General Yamaji said the detailed engineering design for the fourth bridge and coastal road would be finished by the end of March.
He expects the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to make the bidding announcement later this year.
Yamaji made the remarks during a speech he gave at a reception the Consulate-General of Japan in Cebu held at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu to celebrate the 63rd birthday of Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
Yamaji said construction of the bridge would start next year and take four years, during which it would generate 1,000 to 2,000 jobs.
The diplomat also said the Philippines can expect more investments from Japan.
Yamaji said that during his state visit to Japan last Feb. 9, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who announced that Japan would provide the Philippines with 600 billion yen or P250 billion worth of Official Development Assistance and private sector investments by March 2024.
There would be cooperation between the two nations on agriculture, telecommunications, defense and security areas, Yamaji said.
Later in the evening, Yamaji told SunStar Cebu that some information technology companies were interested in investing in the Philippines, but he could not say if they were interested in investing in Cebu specifically.
On Japan’s 600 billion yen investment in the country, he said the construction of a new factory by Taiheiyo Cement Corp. (TCC) in Cebu may be part of this already.
TCC’s manufacturing plant is in San Fernando, southern Cebu.
Last Feb. 10, TCC president and representative director Masafumi Fushihara signed a letter of intent with Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual on the planned expansion of its operations in the country with its kiln renewal project that will increase its cement production capacity.
TCC said it intends to upgrade the clinker production line, set of storage silos, and raw material yards to introduce a state-of-the-art production line that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from energy use by more than 10 percent.
On the fourth bridge which will start in Mandaue City and end in Lapu-Lapu City, the consul general told SunStar Cebu, “The DPWH said it has solved the alignment.”
The bridge, Yamaji said, would cost 120 billion yen or roughly P50 billion. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) is financing the bridge’s construction.
“The bridge will be longer than the second bridge,” the diplomat said, referring to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, completed in 1999, that also connects mainland Cebu and Mactan, from Mandaue to Lapu-Lapu.
The second Mandaue-Mactan bridge has a total length of 1.1 kilometers and an approach road of approximately 2.2 kilometers, according to Jica, which also financed its construction.
Last October, Lapu-Lapu Vice Mayor Celedonio Sitoy said the DPWH planned to build the foot of the bridge near the second bridge in front of the Marina Mall in Barangay Pusok.
But Sitoy said that instead of solving the traffic problem, this would only worsen it in that area. In Mandaue City, the foot of the bridge will be constructed near the Cansaga Bay Bridge.
Sitoy said they proposed to build the foot of the bridge in front of the Mactan Economic Zone in Barangay Ibo instead and were awaiting feedback from the DPWH on their proposal.
In June 2021, the Regional Development Council said the option proposed by the Lapu-Lapu City Government would raise the project cost and require new approval from the Investment Coordination Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority Board.
The project, estimated to cost P76.412 billion, will be partially funded by a loan of about P50 billion from Jica.
It will have two components: a four-lane 3.3-kilometer bridge with an elevated four-lane viaduct and a four-lane 4.9-kilometer coastal road with an elevated viaduct.
SunStar Cebu has yet to secure the final alignment from the DPWH.
The first bridge in Cebu also connects the mainland to Mactan from Mandaue to Lapu-Lapu.
The third bridge, on the other hand, the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, starts in Cebu City and ends in Cordova town in Mactan.
On the matter of tourism, Yamaji said the Philippines can expect “a surge” in tourist arrivals from Japan in the second half of this year after numbers that were less than stellar last year due to Japan’s efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) within its borders.
“This spring, we categorized Covid-19 in the same category as the flu, so Japanese people can be encouraged to go overseas,” he said.
Spring is in April, so he said the Japanese may start traveling in bigger numbers overseas during Japan’s summer season that begins in June.
Japan reopened its borders to visitors last October, following two years of strict pandemic restrictions.
The Consulate-General of Japan in Cebu opened in January 2021.
Yamaji explained that before this, what Japan had was just a consular office in Cebu since 1996 which was an affiliate of the Japanese Embassy in Manila.
This was upgraded in 2021 to a consulate general, which is now an “independent diplomatic establishment” like the one in Davao, he said.
The scope of the Consulate-General of Japan in Cebu is the Visayas.