Panabo City as an area where the other end of the long-dreamed Samal Bridge would connect has not yet been totally discarded as another option competing with the other end connection at Davao City particularly in Coaco coastal area in Barangay Pampanga.
An information was also known that at press time there are already two designs of the Samal Bridge, one was prepared by the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and the other was prepared by a Chinese entity.
This was learned from the discussions of the Island Garden City of Samal City Council in their regular session Tuesday.
During the privilege hour, Councilor Ruel Bantillo informed members of the City Council that he learned from Ang Tulay ng Pangulo’s engineer Elmer Bacus about the approved budget of the Office of the President for the bridge subject for presentation to city officials.
Bantillo also mentioned about Bacus bringing the design of a Chinese entity, with the bridge connecting to Davao City.
But Vice Mayor Orly Amit asked Bantillo if Bacus has written request to the city council to present the bridge’s budget.
Bantillo replied it was only a verbal request, to which the vice mayor said “the city council is not yet part of it, (while) we recognize the intention of Bacus to talk with the mayor.”
The vice mayor reminded Bantillo that the last he knew was the funding of the full-blown feasibility study for the Samal bridge project and that there was also a design of the bridge prepared by the JICA.
“There was also a discussion in the NEDA to connect the bridge to Panabo City considering the traffic in Sasa area. In that, there are two options, either the people will take a ferry or take the bridge going to Panabo in case they don’t want traffic,” Amit said.
He said that if the international airport project would be bagged by Tagum City and considering the much funded Davao City-Panabo City bypass road project, Panabo City looks like the ideal location for the island’s bridge to connect to.
But Amit added he does not really know the position of the people of Samal on the issue of connecting the bridge to Davao City or Panabo City.
However, Mayor Al David Uy in chance interview said that as far as he knew the decision was already to connect to Davao City.
He quipped, “it’s either the bridge would be constructed by Japanese or Chinese.”
Uy earlier said that the location of the other end of the bridge in Davao City is somewhere in Coaco area at Barangay Pampanga.
Diokno’s quote was made during an ambush interview of a business reporter at the sideline of the Mindanao Trade and Investment Forum organized by the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines at the Marco Polo Davao.
The secretary also said then that the FS and the source of funds for the Davao-Samal Bridge “was being finalized”.
It is end of the first half of the year now and talk about the Samal Bridge seems to be not a-buzzing these days.
Councilor Charles Ligan, on the other hand, said that the IGACOS City Council and the Davao City Council would still have to make a joint session to approve the final location of the Davao City end of the bridge.
But if it would be Panabo City, then the island’s City Council would have a joint session with the Panabo City Council. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)