Hope remains alive for Panay-Guimaras bridge

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and Chinese Vice Minister Commerce Wang Shouwen exchanged on Thursday, October 24, 2019 the handover certificates for the Panay-Guimaras bridge and the Davao City Expressway project. Both are multibillion-peso infrastructure projects. (Courtesy of Ted Cordero via GMA News Online)

By: Francis Allan L. Angelo

THERE is still hope for the Panay-Guimaras Bridge project.

This, as the feasibility study of the project was already completed and ready for financing by the Chinese government.

A report by GMA News Online said that Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) headed by Sec. Mark Villar and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce and International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen exchanged on Thursday the handover certificates for the Panay-Guimaras bridge and the Davao City Expressway project.

Chinese firm CCC Highway Consultants Co. Ltd. conducted the feasibility studies for the P27.1-billion Panay-Guimaras Bridge and the P25.6-billion Davao City Expressway.

The exchange of documents was done on the sidelines of a high-level meeting between Philippine and Chinese economic ministers in Manila on Thursday.

With the exchange, the process of loan financing for the projects may now begin.

But the proposed bridge project will have to hurdle the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which earlier said it might scrap some big-ticket projects of the Duterte administration due to financial and engineering challenges.

“Tapos na ‘yung FS (feasibility study). Very soon it will be with NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority). So it’s now in the advance stages of planning, so malapit na,” the GMA News Online quoted Villar as saying.

“Yes, it’s for loan agreement, it will have to hurdle the NEDA first pero at least at this point the FS was a major accomplishment already so konti na lang,” he added noted.

Senator Frankling Drilon had said he encouraged San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang to invest in the construction of the Panay-Guimaras bridge following their visit in Iloilo.

The Panay-Guimaras Bridge will span Leganes, Iloilo and Buenavista, Guimaras.