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Bridges connecting the Visayas. Too good to be true?
« on: October 21, 2016, 10:02:39 AM »
Bridges connecting the Visayas. Too good to be true?
CLOSER TO REALITY
Published on Oct 15, 2006 by The Bohol Standard Newspaper

By: June Blanco/ Angelica J. Sanchez/LPP Secretariat
With the dream of its own international airport still stuck in the land acquisition stage, Bohol lately wants another mind boggling, multi-billion budgeted bridges that will connect the island to Cebu and then to the rest of the whole Visayas region.

Are all these too good to be true?

Bohol Governor Erico B, Aumentado said these are ambitious projects but they are not impossible.

“Together with the Panglao Bohol International Airport Development Project [PBIADP], the Friendship Bridges linking five Visayas islands are already in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan [MTPDP] for 2004 to 2010,” he explained.

The proposed bridges will link Bohol to Cebu and to Southern Leyte, Cebu to Oriental Negros, Negros Occidental to Panay Island and Iloilo to Guimaras.

Gov. Erico B. Aumentado, national president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, convened all the governors of Western, Central and Eastern Visayas few months ago presenting to them the concept paper for the establishment of at least six bridges that will link all of the islands of the Visayas.

During the meeting hosted by Negros Occidental Gov. Joseph Marañon, the governors of the three regions approved unanimously a resolution endorsing to the national government the concept paper for the Trans-Visayas Friendship Bridges Project.

Step Closer
And last week, Tourism Sec. Joseph Ace Durano endorsed to the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) the bridge projects – bringing them still another step closer to realization.

The approval came during the Infrastructure Summit initiated by the PMS at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City. Durano is President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Cabinet Officer for the Central Philippines Super Region.

The President herself is convinced of the viability of the project that is part of her Strong Republic Nautical Highway to link the entire country as described in her latest SONA and outlined in the MTPDP.

In her foreword, she said in the next six years, “we must do more.”

“Eradicating poverty continues to be our biggest challenge. Thus, the basic task of our Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for the period 2004-2010 is to fight poverty by building prosperity for the greater number of the Filipino people,” she said.

“Knowing that so much is at stake in such task, I have thus involved myself seriously in the formulation of the MTPDP particularly in the crafting of the basic outline to ensure that the policy strategies and programs therein are more focused. I want the solutions and interventions to our country’s problems to be more strategic,” she vowed.

Her main consideration for the Plan is that it must generate positive impact and must be doable. Through this Plan, she said she is guided in all undertakings needed to strengthen and sustain a strong and responsive republic. The targets have been set, and she expects all agencies of government to make sure these are attained.

10-Point Legacy
“The Plan is the roadmap through which the 10-point legacy of my administration will be achieved. Beyond this Plan, however, is the more difficult task of making sure that it is successfully implemented. I thus call on the support of all sectors of our society to ensure its realization,” she said.

The successful implementation of this Plan can only be realized through a strong partnership as well as more equitable risk-sharing among government, the business sector, and the civil society, she concluded.

The Trans-Visayas Friendship Bridges is topbilled by the Bohol-Mactan, Cebu viaduct which is expected to bring the two provinces – both of which figure prominently as the country’s major tourism destinations.

Aside from that connecting Bohol and Cebu, there will also be two bridges between Bohol and Southern Leyte; another between Cebu and Oriental Negros; Negros Occidental and Iloilo; Iloilo and Guimaras.

P128-M Study

Japanese consulting firm, Pacific Consultants Inc., prepared the concept paper for the Trans-Visayas Friendship Bridges, which will virtually interconnect the entire Visayas region, since the islands of Samar and Leyte have already been linked through the San Juanico Bridge.

“PCI has done the concept paper on the bridges project and is conducting the pre-feasibility study pro bono,” LPP president, Gov. Erico B. Aumentado said.

At the same time, the governors approved the proposal of the Province of Negros Occidental to locate the bridge connecting the province to Panay Island in Tomonton Point in E.B Magalona, Negros Island to San Juan Pt., Banate, Iloilo to shorten the length of the viaduct.

In order to see this ambitious project to its fruition, the Visayas governors also agreed to the proposal of Oriental Negros Gov. George Arnaiz for the provinces in the region to put up a collective counterpart equivalent to 50 percent of the cost to undertake a feasibility study for the project.

The other 50 percent will be sourced from the funds of the national government. The DPWH estimated the cost of the feasibility study at P128 million.

Governors Salvacion Z. Perez and Orlando Fua Sr. of Antique and Siquijor, respectively, said they would also be contributing for the counterpart funds because their provinces will still be benefiting from the project in the long term.

Aumentado said the realization of the project would not only hasten the transportation of people, tourists and cargo between the three regions, but will also bring down the cost of production of local goods and the cost of transmitting power and electricity between and among the provinces.

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