The Bohol-Cebu bridge development has been dropped as among the Duterte administration’s priority infrastructure projects, but Second District Rep. Erico Aumentado whose late namesake father long pushed for the project’s realization remains optimistic that the two provinces will be linked in the future.
Aumentado said that private organizations can still express interest in funding the bridge construction while a bill he filed which is pending at the House of Representatives will make the project a priority for the national government through the Department of Public Works and Highways, if passed into law.
“Atong gi-filan og bill kana aron mahimo g’yud ng institution na naay tukoron ang Cebu-Bohol bridge. At least kung ma-approve na, naa g’yud na sa priority sa DPWH pohon,” he said.
Aumentado filed in July House Bill 2110 which will establish the Bohol-Cebu Multi-Access Friendship Bridge and is now pending at the lower chamber’s committee on public works and highways.
The last-term congressman, although dismayed that the project was shelved, said that he understood why it was dropped.
Aumentado admitted that the budget for the P56.62-billion Cebu-Bohol link and two other multi-billion bridge projects which were also scrapped can be used for more smaller infrastructure items.
He also believes that the alteration of the government’s infrastructure priorities is for the betterment of the entire nation.
“Atong nakita na kanang tulo ka proyekto na hing kabot og ingana kadakong kantidad basin ilang nakita na kung ila ng ibahin-bahin sa ubang proyekto mas dako pa ang maabot na kalambuan sa atong nasud na Pilipinas,” he said.
Initial plans for the Cebu-Bohol link project indicate that the bridge will cross Getafe, Bohol to Mactan Island particularly Cordova in Cebu.
Mactan is connected to mainland Cebu by two existing bridges while a third one is now under construction and is set for completion in 2021.
The late former congressman and governor Erico Aumentado had the project endorsed by the Provincial Development Council, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the Regional Development Council during his several terms as a public official.
Last week, Boholano Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and concurrent National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ernesto Pernia announced the removal of the Bohol-Cebu bridge from the government’s 75-item list of “high-impact” infrastructure projects.
Pernia cited technical and financial constraints as reason for the removal of the project along with the Leyte-Surigao link bridge and Luzon-Samar link bridge from the list.
“We still do not have the technology to build on very deep waters and long bridges,” Pernia said. “I think some of them still do not have the traffic to justify the construction at this time.”
According to Pernia, the number of flagship infrastructure projects ballooned from just 75 to 100 with the planned alteration of the infrastructure program.
He however noted that some big-ticket projects in the pipeline will be replaced with “smaller but game-changing” ones to make the items in the program more achievable within Duterte’s term. (A. Doydora)