Editorial: Bridge to Samal

Bridge to link city and Samal. This was the headline of Mindanao Times on Jan. 18, 1979, close to 40 years ago. The proposal was made by then Davao del Norte Assemblyman Rodolfo del Rosario who had requested the technical staff of the province and the Ministry of Public Highways (now Dept. of Public Works and Highways) under Engr. Wilfredo Valencia to make a study of the proposed bridge.

The bridge was seen as the answer to the island’s economic development. Back then, Samal Island was composed of three towns: Babak, Penaplata, and Kaputian. Del Rosario was already envisioning the transfer of the Davao airport to Samal “where there are still enough lands for construction of an alternate international airport like that of Mactan island.” He said with the construction of the bridge, the island could become a resort and tourism destination if properly developed and adequate facilities such as hotels and restaurants are in place.

Fast forward to 2018. The feasibility study of the Davao-Samal Bridge by the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is finished. With an estimated cost of P17.8 billion, the 1.2 kilometer bridge crossing Pakiputan Strait is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from 30 minutes to five minutes.

Construction will begin in 2019 and eyed to be finished in 2020, said DPWH Undersecretary Ma. Catalina Cabral during the PhilConstruct 2018 confab here last Saturday.

The bridge is expected to spur economic development as it will ease movement of people and goods at a very low cost, considering the transportation to cross the island using a ferry or RoRo. Hotels and business establishments will definitely gain momentum with the accessibility of the city to neighbors in Davao del Norte and Davao City.

After 40 years, we will finally see a bridge linking the city to Samal.

Quite a long wait, but it is definitely worth it.

Posted in Opinion