President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the Samal Island-Davao City bridge project would develop the economic potential of Davao City and the Island Garden City of Samal.
Marcos led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC) bridge project, which is expected to boost tourism and economy in Davao. He said this project would enhance the residents’ access to employment, education, and other services.
"In 2027, this bridge will surely ease the convenience of travel and transport, bringing forth gainful opportunities for many of our people by providing a link between relatively far-flung areas and economic centers, thereby we ensure smoother mobility of people and of goods," he said in his speech.
"It will provide easier access to tourism spots and ensure the speedy recuperation from the setbacks brought about by the pandemic," he added.
He also said this would improve the peace and order situation in the area, as well as ensure the faster and more efficient aid distribution during times of calamities.
Marcos said it has always been his constant instruction to the Department of Public Works and Highways to remain steadfast in building a more interconnected Philippines.
"Through the continued construction of short and long-span bridges across the country, we can boost regional transport and spur economic development and competitiveness in the countryside," he said.
"At this juncture, I would also like to explain that this is—I am only fortunate to have been sitting as President when we broke ground for this very important project," he added.
"This project actually was formally began by then Secretary Mark Villar under the Duterte administration. And it began formally to put together the projects since 2018. So the previous administration had already been working on this project for four years before we arrived to this day," he further said.
The bridge, with a total length of 3.98 kilometers, will connect the Samal Circumferential Road to the R. Castillo–Daang Maharlika junction in Davao City.
Upon completion, the bridge will shorten travel time from Davao City to Samal from around 30 minutes via ferry to five minutes.
China, an active member
Malacañang has said the construction of the bridge will be funded through a loan agreement worth US$350 million or P18.67 billion between the Philippines and China.
Marcos expressed gratitude to the government of the People’s Republic of China as it was an "active member and have always been a dependable partner in this infrastructure development program."
"This is not the only project that we have depended upon, the concessional loans and even grants from the government of the People’s Republic of China, and it is clear to see the benefits that those projects bring to our people, to our economy, and to the Philippines," he said.
"This is a testament to the strong and ever-growing foundation of the bilateral relations and cooperation between our two countries," he added.
In his speech, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said "the people of Davao have been dreaming of the bridge since long time ago."
"Thanks to the care and support of leaders of our two countries, the construction of this flagship project is initiated today. It reflects China’s commitment to the Build Better More program of the Philippine government, and marks a significant milestone of the bilateral cooperation," he said.
Huang said the bridge is a "new milestone of the China-Philippines friendship."
He also mentioned Chinese modernization, which will definitely have a profound impact on the world and benefit mankind. He said the first 100 days of the Marcos administration resonated with the development method of Chinese modernization.
"China and the Philippines are close neighbors who enjoy complementary development advantages and broad prospects for cooperation," Huang said.
"In China’s journey towards modernization, we are willing to work hand in hand with the Philippines for mutual benefit and common development, and I believe this will surely facilitate the Philippines’ economic transformation and modernization process," he added.—AOL, GMA News