The proposed Bohol Cebu Friendship bridge continues to generate public acceptance even as the worldâ€™s first (hatched in Bohol) could be another legacy seen that would carry fuel pipeline, power supply, fiber optics for telecommunications, water pipeline, and even a train.
Dubbed as a jumbo bridge, Bohol-Cebu Multi-Access Friendship Bridgeâ€”a mega-project hatched during the incumbency of the late governor Erico Aumentado and now pursued by his son, Second District Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentadoâ€”would be more than just another tollways business.
To address the concern of former governor Victor dela Serna about exploiting the water resources of Bohol, Rep. Aumentado explained that parameters would be in place that only the excess from the Bohol consumption would be supplied to Cebu.
Rep. Aumentado, however, said the project remains in the planning stage.
However, it is five steps ahead of the proposed Batangas-Mindoro Bridge that the Belgian company proposed to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The same Belgian company proposed to invest in the Cebu-Bohol Multi-Access Friendship Bridge.
Rep. Aumentado said the proposed Cebu-Bohol bridge already passed muster at the Provincial Development Council, Regional Development Council and NEDA.
The Belgian company proposed to forge a partnership with the other interested investor, the Metro Pacific Tollways, for the project to be more than just tollways business, according to Rep. Aumentado.
This way, the return of investment would be faster.
Metro Pacific Tollways president Mon Fernandez, officials of the Belgian company and Manny V. Pangilinan of Smart Communications met with Rep. Aumentado to discuss the project.
The investors proposed to form a technical working group to address the concerns, including Dela Sernaâ€™s about the fear that it might drain the water sources of Bohol.
Rep. Aumentado also noted that considering that the fuel depot in Cebu province is in Mandaue that is near to the municipality of Cordovaâ€”the Cebu point of the bridgeâ€”it would be wiser to include a fuel pipeline that will bring fuel to Bohol through Getafeâ€”the Bohol point of the bridge.
This will address the point that higher prices of fuel in Bohol had been attributed to the cost of transshipment through fuel barges.
Smart Communications also eyed to extend their fiber optics line to Bohol through the bridge.
Power generation companies also await for the bridge so that the excess electricity from Cebu will be supplied to Bohol.
The Belgian company is ready to invest US$1 million for the feasibility study that could follow after the TWG findings, according to Rep. Aumentado.
Fernandez suggested that they should finalize the plan to proceed with the full-blown feasibility study on the project.
Metro Pacific Tollways has the edge over another interested tollways company, considering that it already has a project at the South Reclamation Project in Cebu, so it would be easy for the company to add the Cebu-Bohol bridge project.
The Belgian company estimated that they can cut the bridge length to only 15-16 kilometers with the straight floating bridge design from the first eyed 22-kilometer stretch that would anchor on islands.
Rep. Aumentado also said the Belgian company believes the floating bridge design will have lesser negative effects on the environment.
Tight security will be also be in place both at the Cordova point and the Getafe point of the bridge to block any spillover of contraband from either of the two provinces that will be connected.