PRESIDENTIAL Assistant for Eastern Mindanao Leo Tesoro Magno debunked the claims of National Economic and Development Authority-Davao Region (Neda-Davao) Regional Director Ma. Lourdes Lim said during a regional economic conference that the Davao-Samal bridge project will be suspended anew.
Magno immediately released his statement hours after the announcement of Lim during the Davao Region’s 2023 Socioeconomic Performance and 2024 Development Council special briefing on Tuesday morning, January 30, 2024, suggesting that the multi-billion Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC) project, commonly known as Samal-Davao bridge, is halted temporarily due to right-of-way (RoW) issues.
The alleged issues involve two to three land properties located near a pier in Lanang in Davao City.
Based on a report, Magno verified the information divulged by Lim to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW) Undersecretary Emil Sadain, however, Sadain rebuffed it.
Magno then warned officials to remain honest and refrain from announcing “insignificant information” that might mislead the public.
It should be noted that earlier this month, Arturo Milan, Regional Development Council-Davao (RDC-Davao) co-chair, Neda Board Member for Regional Development-Private Sector Representative for Mindanao, and One Mindanao Business Club chairman, revealed that despite the legal matters concerning property and road rights, the Davao-Samal bridge project remains in full swing.
This comes after the DPWH-Davao team conducted soil tests in the area in Davao City's jurisdiction where the bridge will land in front of the Insular Village, beside the Beach Club, Lanang.
Originally, Lim said that the construction of SIDC was suspended last January 3 and will only be pursued once the Deed of Transfer Possession in Davao City is released and the engineering plans for the substructure are approved.
Magno reiterated the project is still one of the priority projects of the eight-point socio-economic development agenda of the Marcos administration in the Davao Region, anchored on the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), 2023-2028.
This is also to support his statement in a press conference last December 2023, saying that no obstacles could hamper the toll-free four-lane bridge and that the project is “more than ready” based on the viewpoints of China Road Corp. despite setbacks on the road right-of-way issues.
“If there are hindrances, we hope to finish and overcome them. For a project to be successful, it is necessary that both private and the public sector understand each other,” Magno said.
SIDC, a 3.98-kilometer and an estimated budget of P23.04 billion, funded through China’s Official Development Assistance, is projected to be completed in 2027.