ROW issues still hound Davao-Samal Bridge project

Photo credit to DPWH
Photo credit to DPWH

THE Davao-Samal Bridge project, also known as the P23-billion Samal Island-Davao City (SIDC) Connector Project, continues to face setbacks related to right-of-way (ROW) issues, as confirmed by an official from the National Economic and Development Authority-Davao Region (Neda-Davao).

Neda-Davao Director Maria Lourdes Lim disclosed these challenges during an ambush interview on Thursday, September 21, coinciding with the 74th anniversary celebration of the founding of the People's Republic of China at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Lanang, Davao City.

Lim said that the Department of Public Works and Highways-Unified Project Management Office (DPWH-UPMO), tasked with executing the project, is encountering obstacles in obtaining access to properties affected by the bridge project on the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) side. 

Consequently, the bridge project remains "suspended" due to these ROW complications.

"They have to gain access doon sa mga properties, so they have to be given permission by the property owners. It's still being negotiated," she said in an interview.

Nonetheless, Lim reported that the Detailed Engineering Design (DED) is nearing completion, with approximately 80 percent progress achieved. 

She also noted that progress is being made in various other facets of the project.

On the Igacos side, Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib provided an update, indicating that work on the Davao-Samal bridge has officially commenced. 

Key activities such as installing foundational bridge components and conducting soil testing are actively underway, with China Road and Bridge Corporation, the project's contractor, actively engaged in construction.

Jubahib acknowledged some resistance but stressed that the bridge construction is advancing as planned.

"Nagpadayon man, ongoing ang pagtrabaho niini, nakita nato naa'y resistance pero nakita nato nga padayon ang construction sa maong bridge (The work on this project continues. We have encountered some resistance, but we have also witnessed the construction of this bridge moving forward)," the governor said.

Previously, legal disputes had arisen in both the Supreme Court (SC) and the Court of Appeals, primarily stemming from objections raised by the Lucas-Rodriguez family, proprietors of the prominent Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort and Costa Marina Beach Resort in Igacos. However, these legal cases were ultimately dismissed by the Court of Appeals.

Earlier this year, DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan announced that the initial construction phase of the project was anticipated to commence before year-end, with a particular focus on the Davao City side. RGL

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