LGUs told to ready workforce for Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Local government units in Western Visayas (WV) should prepare their constituents for the construction of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros interisland bridges which will require a lot of workers, National Economic Development and Authority (NEDA) regional director Ro-Ann Bacal said.

“Hopefully, this will be a time for our LGUs to prepare its citizens, because this project will be needing a lot of workers, siyempre ayaw natin na magdadala pa ng mga tao from the outside, we would like our people to really benefit from this development,” Bacal said.

Earlier, the NEDA Board already gave the go signal for the financial and procurement activities of the highly-anticipated interisland bridges.

“It was approved by the NEDA Board two days ago and will now be processed. Procurement and activities will then commence,” she said.

Following the approval of the NEDA Board, Bacal said the Department of Finance will now be responsible to look for financial institutions that will fund the project.

“We have had information that the Chinese government is interested in the project as part of its commitment to assist the government’s Build Build Build project,” she disclosed.

Bacal said she is hopeful that the procurement of the contractors will start early next year.

“Sana this year, ma-firm up na natin yung financial arrangements so that para next year procurement ng contractors,” she said.

The interisland bridges that will connect the Panay Island to the provinces of Guimaras and Negros Occidental are among the flagship projects of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The project involves the construction of a 32.47-km, four-lane, two sea-crossing bridges, including connecting roads and interchanges that will connect the islands of Panay, Guimaras, and Negros, according to the Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH) 6.

The Panay-Guimaras segment will be composed of a 13.10-kilometer road, including a 4.80-kilometer bridge that will start from Brgy. Gua-an, Leganes, Iloilo, and end at Brgy. Getulio, Buenavista Guimaras.

On the other hand, the Guimaras-Negros segment will start from Brgy. M. Chavez, San Lorenzo, Guimaras, and end at Brgy. Canjusa, Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. It will cover 17.40 kilometers, with a 12.50-kilometer bridge.

The project is estimated to cost around P189.53 billion, NEDA said.